Friday, September 15, 2006

Rules of the Road

Jaywalking is a choice...not an entitlement.

This was my thought as I was leaving the Wendy's drive-thru with a hail mary lunch for the Monkey last week. Don't get me wrong...I'm not opposed to jaywalking. I do it. Everyone does it. It's not high on the list of Really Bad Things(tm).

But the fact of the matter is that it's still illegal. So if you're going to make the choice to, say, cross six lanes of traffic at noon on a Wednesday, how's about you step up the pace a little bit?! I mean, you could pretend to feel badly about it...a guilty look...a little spring in the step. Not so much with just loping along with this attitude like "Oh, well, there's 4 of us and we're carrying Wendy's bags...who'd dare hit us??"

Grr. Somebody's gonna get hurt.

My friend and former bike-messenger in the District used to tell this great story about jaywalking pedestrians (it's a huge hazard in his line of work and with the tourists in DC, well, you can just imagine). He said that there are basically three categories of pedestrians:

Deer -- who, at the first sign of danger, stop cold in their tracks.
Squirrels -- who, at the first sign of danger, scatter.
Buffalo -- who, at the first sign of danger, just...keep...moving.

The problem, he said, is that they travel in mixed you can't tell on sight which people are which -- thus making navigation of the herd a significant problem. His solution, as he was careening downhill toward a group of jaywalking pedestrians, was to scream (at the top of his lungs): "AAAAARRRGH! I - HAVE - NO - BRAKES!!!!" which point:

The deer stop.
The squirrels scatter.
And the buffalo just...keep...moving.

...and nobody gets hurt.

1 comment:

towwas said...

There's an intersection about three miles down from my house where people just jaywalk madly. I'm pretty conservative about jaywalking - I'll do it sometimes downtown, but only if I'm damn sure there's no cars coming, and usually I'll just wait at the corner if the light's red. But these people are always running (or, as you say, strolling) across six lanes of moving traffic! When there's a perfectly functional crosswalk with a light half a freakin block away! The worst is when I'm on the metrobus and I see people dodging traffic to catch the bus. The bus ain't THAT important. A lot of people die that way.