OK, this is not a post, it is a rant. A rant about one of my pet peeves: Jaywalking. Why is jaywalking such a big honking deal, you ask? Because it’s cultural. It’s a cultural phenomenon that I really don’t understand.
Here’s the situation: I drive (or ride my Harley) to work through miles of back country roads, then outlying suburban Delaware roads, then more urban Delaware roads, finally onto Wilmington city streets. I only encounter the jaywalkers on the Wilmington city streets.
And it’s not just the jaywalkers, it is also the jay-bicyclists. Most cyclists use the rules of the road properly, ride on the right side, obey traffic, etc. But some folks just don’t see the road the same way I guess.
So here’s the situation: I am driving down a city street, with corners, sidewalks , crosswalks and traffic lights. And someone (or several someones) will peer out into the street, see the oncoming traffic, and step directly in front of it. I have noticed this for over two years, so this is not new by any means. The other day, a woman probably in her fifties, walking with a cane, waited for the light to turn green, then stepped out into the street to cross. Only she waited for the light to turn green the opposite way. A couple of weeks ago, I turned a corner and began accelerating down a two-lane, one-way street in Wilmington, when several youths on bicycles darted out directly in front of me.
The way I deal with this is two-fold. First, even though the jaywalkers are risking life and limb, I check for safety and do not mow them down if I can help it. I apply the brakes. And the horn. I also pull in the clutch and let the Screamin’ Eagles do some talking as well. The other strategy is much more satisfying, though. Since I wear dark sunglasses or goggles, pedestrians cannot see my eyes. So I turn my head slightly and keep on going, as if I don’t even SEE the jaywalkers. This invariably hurries them along.
All that said, here’s what I want to know: Why? Why are you crossing the street in front of traffic? Do you WANT to get run over? It’s only a matter of time before some less-alert motorist lets you have it. And when a pedestrian wrestles with a motor vehicle, they lose every time. Didn’t your mamma teach you any better? Do you not see the crosswalks, and the little flashy signs thingys telling you it’s OK to cross here, now?