Sunday, April 7, 2013

to get to the other side


Here are two types of irksome crosswalk behavior.

1. a bicyclist who rides in the crosswalk, pretending to be
    a pedestrian as he/she crosses the street. The cyclist,
    or at least the one I saw yesterday on University Place
    at College Road, looked resolutely (blithely) ahead, 
    expecting all motorized traffic to yield the right of way. 
    A bicyclist should either remain in the travel lane, 
    waiting patiently at the stop sign [*] for the coast to be
    clear, or else dismount and walk his/her bike across
    the street, within the not-so-safe-coccoon of white paint [*].

    What can we call it when a bicyclist does this ? Jaysurping.

2. a motorist who scores points for vigilance, and bonus 
    points for trying to do the right thing, yet who puts his/her
    own spinal cord at grave risk, by stopping for a bicyclist
    at an intersection or crosswalk, surprising all but him/herself.
    This scenario [(*)] has happened to me at least a half-dozen
    times within the past year or two. I'd ride up to a stop sign
    intersecting an arterial/busy road - examples being Cherry
    Valley Road, Harrison, Princeton-Kingston Road, Princeton
    Pike, and put my foot on the ground, waiting for an opening
    in the traffic, swiveling my head, and not in the crosswalk.
    Screech! What ??? Go! Don't stop there all of a sudden!!!
    There have been some close calls, but no rear-enders. Yet.

    What do we call it when a motorist does this ? Jaybraking.

There was a crosswalk-related article in the NYT last week, and
this excellent article links to it. The title is "The Latest Bleak 
Evidence That Crossing the Street Is Hazardous to Your Health"
and here are a two statistics you should file in your walking papers:

- of the pedestrians injured while crossing the street, 44% were using 
  a crosswalk with the WALK signal in their favor. Note, this study
  had no data from pedestrians who died and never reached the hospital.

- in the scenario where drivers are making a left-hand turn into
  facing traffic, it's estimated that 4-9% of these drivers NEVER
  EVEN PAUSE TO LOOK if there are pedestrians in the way before 
  pulling into the intersection

So when crossing the street, keep your head on a swivel.

For more pedestrian-related content in AtlanticCities, click here.

Meanwhile, why do they call it jaywalking when somebody crosses the
street illegally ? Here's the answer. Now you can amaze your friends.




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