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I'm Walking: Pedestrians Free From the Letter of the Law

By Alf Gordon(13,356)

Posted Friday, April 04, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Alf Gordon

Yesterday I had an epiphany:  Pedestrians get all the breaks.  Seriously.  Unlike drivers, pedestrians don't have police watching out for their every mistake and issuing tickets for the least little infraction of the law.  As a result, they take full advantage of their immunity by violating as many laws as possible.  Take a look at some of the examples below and see if you don't agree that pedestrians coast!

DRIVING ON THE RIGHT.   When a car drives down the wrong side of the road, lives are endangered.  Generally when a vehicle is stopped while driving in the wrong direction, a ticket is issued.  Pedestrians should, as a courtesy, walk on the right side of the sidewalk (or stairwell, or hallway), yet seldom do.  People walk wherever they feel like it and if they get in your way, oh well.

OBEYING THE SPEED LIMIT.  Drivers who drive too fast (and sometimes too slowly) can be issued tickets for unsafe driving.  Pedestrians walk at whatever pace suits them and to heck with what everybody else is doing.  Four women can be walking at a snail's pace side by side down a hallway while people back up behind them because they're too busy talking and laughing and having a good time communicating.  On the other hand, I've seen people bowled over by folks who were in such a hurry they needed to run to get where they needed to be.  (The worst near-accident I've ever seen?  A guy in a motorized wheelchair nearly crashed into a group of people when he rounded a corner going much faster than what was safe for either him or the others on the sidewalk.)

RUNNING THE YELLOW LIGHT.  We're told that when the yellow light appears, vehicles in the intersection need to continue on while vehicles approaching the intersection need to slow down and stop.  Being in the intersection when the light turns red is a ticketable offense.  In crosswalks, the flashing hand is the equivalent of the yellow light.  Pedestrians in the crosswalk need to continue walking, while pedestrians on the sidewalk do not enter the street.  Yet you can see people racing across the street in front of oncoming traffic even though the sign clearly said not to--and sometimes not even in the crosswalk, but in the middle of the street.  Jaywalking is definitely against the law in many states, yet it's rare to see a policeman issue a ticket for it.

USING TURNING SIGNALS.  In some states drivers can be ticketed for not properly signaling when making a turn.  Pedestrians go where they want to go and many times the only way you can tell is when they show up directly in your path.  Hopefully you can move out of the way before colliding.

ILLEGAL PARKING.  Certain areas are off-limits for vehicle parking, and drivers can be ticketed for leaving their cars where they're not supposed to.  Pedestrians just plant their carcasses wherever they feel like it--in the middle of a crowded hallway to talk to a co-worker, in the line at the grocery store to chat with a neighbor, in the doorway of a public building to take a cell phone call.  Others are inconvenienced and in some instances could be hurt, but hey, these people have more important things to do than worry about whether you can get where you need to go.

The evidence speaks for itself.  The sad thing is that if pedestrian and driver collide, the pedestrian gets the benefit of the doubt even when in the wrong from a legal standpoint.  (I have some first-hand experience in this matter.)  If pedestrians got called down for doing on foot what car owners do behind the wheel, municipalities would have a whole new source of revenue available to squander.  Sounds like law enforcement needs to get with the program!  Drivers have rights, too!

This Blog Post has been read 236 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Friday, April 04, 2008
View other posts by Alf Gordon

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