Crosswalks don’t mean a damn thing

Taking her life in her hands

Taking her life in her hands (click to embiggen)

As I walked across this 100-foot crosswalk today, a young buck in a silver Mitsubishi honked at me and gave me the finger. I let him know I was in the crosswalk and that he is an excretory sphincter. In other words, just another day of interaction between pedestrians and drivers.

After work I rode back to the intersection on my bike, and watched for a few minutes. Drivers seem unaware of what a crosswalk is, and what it means. Which is not surprising, and who cares, Am I Right?

But here’s the thing: munis are in the habit of writing tickets for “jaywalking”, which means crossing the street in the middle of the block. At this intersection, you are interacting with cars approaching from 5 possible directions, and which are in turn interacting with cars from 8 different directions plus pedestrians. In the middle of the block, you interact with cars coming from two directions, and their movements are much more constrained and predictable.

Yes, every driver can tell stories of inattentive pedestrians. But pedestrians pose little real hazard to drivers. If the town wants to write somebody a ticket, they can damn well watch the drivers. In the space of five minutes watching at this one intersection, I saw about twenty cars crowd a pedestrian. Often, two or three per.

Man crossing street
One pedestrian in crosswalk, six cars. Three slowed noticeably to avoid collision. (Click to embiggen)


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Older technology guy with photography and history background