Many of you here are parents and are aware of the safety precautions involved in crossing the street, but I just want to WARN and RANT. So if I may...
There is a park half a block away from me. I sometimes take my 5-year-old nephew there on our bikes or year-old niece on the Burley Solo (awesome for showing her the big world outside the house). To get to the park I have to cross a street, which isn't all that heavy with traffic. It's more or less a 2-lane residential street, but because it joins two busy streets at both ends (imagine |----| where the dotted line is the crossing street) there is always cars passing through at any given time. There are two legal crossings I always take. One is a 3-way stop at a T-intersection closest to my house and the other a block away is a crosswalk with embedded flashing lights in the road and PED X sign with warning light when activated). Most of the time I take the flashing crosswalk because it seems safer.
My procedure for crossing with my nephew is to dismount and walk our bikes. Same when I'm towing the buggy. At the 3-way stop, I make sure the cars coming toward us stop before we begin crossing. I don't trust drivers even with designated stop signs. At the flashing crosswalk I also wait for cars coming toward us to slow and stop before crossing. This precaution has proven to me to be the RIGHT thing to do. A number of times cars have just ignored the flashing lights leaving me fuming. Or when at the stop sign they will stop and go, not letting me or my nephew cross even though we were standing there waiting to cross. I usually wear a hi-vis yellow jacket.
So today is the proverbial last straw. I took my niece to the park in the buggy. Park wasn't busy and not much traffic. We cross at the crosswalk with the embedded flashing lights in the road and a PED-X sign with warning light. I press the button to activate the flashing lights. I see a car coming so I wait for it to slow down and come to a stop. Car just blows by! I'm usually a reserve person, but I had to raise my hand in a WTF gesture. It was futile. Driver didn't even notice me in my hi-vis yellow jacket, much less the flashing lights.
I'm getting really sick of this. Once, twice, okay I'll let it go. Wait, this shouldn't even happen at all. But this sort of thing has happened a number of times that I'm becoming concerned and mad. Parents, please warn your kids to wait for cars to stop completely before crossing at an intersection with stop signs or a PED-X crossing with flashing lights.
Is there anything I can do about this? I'm thinking about asking someone to have unmarked cars just for these violaters. These aren't drivers deliberately breaking the law but are just UNAWARE of their surroundings. Oblivious. Zoned out.
And speaking of zombies. People are stupid. I see so many people crossing the street--mostly jay-walking no less--without looking. They expect cars to see them and stop. When you're out riding your bike, you notice these things. These people are usually texting or looking at their phone or just looking down. I mean WTF? The street is a dangerous place to be and unless you are a senior citizen, disabled, or pushing a stroller, I expect you to run or power walk across as if your life depended on it. Oh, and if you have kids in tow, it would be very, very wise to look both ways before crossing and make sure that you know where all cars are at any given time while crossing.
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