I was hit by a car recently.
Hey, I'm not THAT fat!
The driver did a rolling stop through a red light, looking to her left for on-coming traffic as she turned right. Had she looked both ways — you know, the way every mother tells every child to do when crossing a street — she’d hve seen me in the crosswalk. She was at a red light. I had the right of way.
But the best part of the story is that after hitting me — not hard; I was more scared than scarred — she pulled over… and proceeded to yell at me for having gotten in her way.
As a constant pedestrian, I know from first-hand experience that these kind of man-meets-metal throwdowns happen far too often and, for the most part, only avoid turning into tragedy because the person not tooling around in a ton or more of metal is on the alert.
With that in mind, it might be time to draw up a Pedestrian Bill Of Rights.
I propose that as pedestrians, we should have the right…
… not to be plowed down by those driving along merrily. Seems obvious, but hey, this is a country where Congressman need to be told that it’s not okay to yell at the president when he’s in the middle of a speech.
… to be a bigger priority to those behind the wheel than is the person to whom they are speaking on their cellphone. I realize that it’s very important to find out what’s for dinner or whether little Johnny finally peed in the pot as opposed to Daddy’s shoes, but maybe that can wait until you get home. At the very least use a hands-free device, because let’s face it: It’s tough to look both ways for pedestrians when you’ve got that phone jammed into the crook of your shoulder so you can talk, drive and smoke at the same time. By the way… since most people can’t text and walk down the sidewalk without plowing into someone, what the hell makes some of you think you can do it while driving?
… to not be turned into streetwalkers of the non-sexual variety by homeowners and businesses who refuse to plow their sidewalks after a snowstorm, forcing pedestrians to walk on the roadway to avoid breaking their necks.
… to not be hit by the cigarette butts you flick out the window. Every car in this country has an ashtray. If for some reason yours is unuseable (as in you haven’t emptied it since the first Bush presidency), do what normal people do: put the butt in a can of coke.
… to have some slack cut to us on rainy days. Look, even if you’ve got the right of way as you sit there in your warm car, sipping coffee, why not stop and wave someone through who is struggling to keep their umbrella from turning inside out? And for pete’s sake, don’t be the asshat who sees a puddle and steps on the gas, pulling as close to the curb as possible in an attempt to play “Splash The Walker.” Not cool.
In short, how about having a little respect for the people who are out there walking — whether we’re doing it for the exercise or out of some crazy notion that maybe we’re helping counterbalance the environmental damage caused by your gas-guzzling Hummer. Better still, try literally walking a few miles in our shoes. A few close calls of your own might help you see things differently.