Someone asked me today if I was normal. The question was asked in the context of what this individual thought was acceptable street side etiquette. In this situation I was walking across the designated crosswalk, crossing to the other side of the street, as one does using the crosswalk method. This is something that I do on a regular bases. For my friend, a driver, this was an inconvenience that made him take the time to tell me this through his driver’s side window. Again, I am accustom to this (verbal abuse) while walking through the main street of Fort Langley–really, I’m not kidding here. Driver’s need their space too, I know.
I thought about what this driver said to me while I was walking through the crosswalk along Glover Road. What is normal? I thought about this for about half a day and started to make some assumptions about it.
Normal could be the amount of people who have scolded me because I made them stop while I crossed the road on foot, and they had to stop to let me by. Normal could also be that crosswalks are proper street-side avenues for pedestrians to use as part of the road safe scheme for most North American streets. Normal would fall into the category that all motorists should yield the right of way when crosswalks are occupied by a pedestrian. Normal could mean a whole bunch of things.
So then, why does a single member of the population fall out of the normal category anyway? Assuming that I am the non-normal person for a minute, would I all of a sudden cause so much chaos from my single “non-normal” action that the universe suddenly starts imploding onto itself? That the shock waves cause panic and mayhem among the motoring public around me that the entire network of traffic on the roads comes to a screeching halt. Then what is left–arrest for the panic and mayhem, or denial of crosswalks for all pedestrians?
Sadly, and without reservation, all the players in today’s theatrics fall under the normal banner. Yes, me, who plays the part of the lowly pedestrian, and my friend, the scolding driver, we all are normal because this play plays out every second of everyday. This is so normal that if I do not get a response form a driver while crossing the crosswalk, I notice it.
I have some tips for those who are using the crosswalk on foot. Please take these seriously and try to used them as often as possible because they could save your life.
- Never look at the driver as you are crossing. This is especially true of you are Male because testosterone levels are quite high if you encounter Male drivers.
- If you can, travel in groups. We all know that the odds are in your favour once you have witnesses, or the possibility of at least one survivor.
- If you can, wait for a group to gather, then cross. Same as point two though you are with strangers.
- Wear bright clothing. A lot of drivers are either talking on their cellphone, under the influence, speeding to get home or very tired. Never take a chance.
- Never run across a crosswalk. Two things, first drivers sense fear, and moving targets easily confuse already distracted drivers.
- If confronted by a angry driver, never respond. This is just asking for it. Provocation is dangerous while someone is wielding a 4000 Lbs vehicle at you.
- Never change direction in a crosswalk.
- Use controlled crosswalks over uncontrolled ones, i.e., ones that have control lights.
- If you hear a car speeding up because you are about to step onto a crosswalk, wait, and let the driver pass by. Walking in front of traffic is suicide.
- Drivers will hit you, so exercise caution at all times. Never take a peaceful walk through a crosswalk for granted.