This is essentially the second part of my red-light-running bullies post. Except that it applies to every intersection, not just signalized intersections.
This is another driver behavior that accelerated with the pandemic. But it didn’t start there. It primarily started with the election of Donald Trump. There was a noticeable change in driver behavior immediately after the election. Many drivers apparently thought, well if the president can say and do whatever he wants without consequence, so can I. It was really noticeable to me how belligerent drivers became. I’m guessing that it was because many drivers see people walking and bicycling as ‘other’, people with different values and political views. Used to be communists, then it was “lib’rels”, and I won’t use the current round of words here. If you are walking or bicycling, you are ‘other’ and if you are walking or bicycling and black or poor, you are truly the enemy. God meant us to drive, and anyone who thinks otherwise or gets in my way is against both God and me. That may sound outlandish, but it does accurately reflect how many drivers view the world.
But back to the driver behavior. Most drivers no longer yield to people using crosswalks. Of course most drivers are not aware that there is a crosswalk at every intersection, whether marked or not. And the DMV is complicit in this, they make no effort to educate drivers about pedestrian right-of-way. The law doesn’t require a driver to stop until the walker steps off the curb (or ramp) and into the street. Common decency would mandate yielding to waiting walkers, but common decency is not common among drivers. Once the walker has stepped into the street, they have the right of way. But most drivers will not stop. They may change lanes to avoid the blood splat on their car, but they won’t stop.
There are drivers who do stop, but when I look at them, I see the fear in their eyes, that they are going to get rear ended by an inattentive driver, or that on a street with more than one lane in the same direction, another driver in another lane will fail to stop or even slow, and they will have to see someone die right in front of their eyes. I understand that fear, because both these things happen with disturbing frequency.Read More »