Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Below Average

I am frequently a pedestrian, and I will freely admit that cars are not often a pedestrian’s best friend, especially when crossing the street with a walk signal and a car wants to turn. They don’t always want to wait for you. I even had a MUNI train seriously consider plowing through me the other day to make a turn even though I had a walk signal and the right of way. Apparently MUNI trains have decided that they always have the right of way over pedestrians and cars when turning at Irving and 9th Ave when anyone with even a remedial knowledge of traffic laws knows they clearly do not.

But I digress.

Yesterday I’m walking down Montgomery Street to go get try the mini donuts at the hot dog stand, when I come to the corner of Montgomery and Sutter. The traffic is one way heading towards me and even though they have a green light, I have the Red Hand of Don’t Walk. It’s one of those intersections where they stop all the traffic before you get a walk sign because lots of cars make the left turn off of Montgomery onto the one-way Sutter.

As I’m standing there a woman walks past me straight into the intersection. A large truck suddenly lets out a loud blast from its horn. She stops as the truck turns in front of us. She walks back shaking her head and gives me a smile with crinkled eyebrows as if to say “What a jerk!”

Why is he a jerk exactly? Because he had the right of way and you were jaywalking? Because he honked so you wouldn’t walk right into the path of an oncoming truck?

I smile back and say “We don’t have a walk signal.” She gives me a stern reproachful look. I keep smiling and say “I’m just saying… The signals are there for a reason.”

“Thanks for the lecture,” she says.

The signal changes and as we start to cross I say, “You’re the one who almost got yourself killed.”

She rushes off in a huff and says something I can’t hear.

WTF Lady? I hate it when people break the law or do something stupid and then act put-out or wronged when they’re called on it. She could have been KILLED and all she cared about was that she couldn’t possibly have been at fault and I was an ass for pointing it out to her.

As my dad always said “statistically speaking, fully half the population is below average.”

(photo by Donncha O Caoimh)


  1. Every six months I write to the mayors office, MUNI, DPT, all local print/radio/television media outlets, and a few others, requesting that a massive campaign be launched to communicate the following:

    California Vehicle Code 21456

    Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words "WALK" or "WAIT" or "DON'T WALK" or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:
    (a) "WALK" or approved "Walking Person" symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but
    shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.
    (b) Flashing or steady "DON'T WALK" or "WAIT" or approved "Upraised Hand" symbol.
    No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the "WAIT" or "DON'T WALK" or approved "Upraised Hand" symbol is showing.

    To date, no response from anyone. Sigh...

  2. Good for you! Too many people let idiot pedestrians put all the blame on drivers, when the reality is that they often don't have enough brains to save their own lives.

    Montgomery at Sutter, 24th at Noe, and 18th and Castro are my own personal nightmares.

    I'm glad you didn't let her get away with it.

    And the quote is hilarious.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.