I'm Starting To Think Old Folks Should Get Off The Road (A Vent)

When I am a pedestrian (or bicycle rider) I expect minimal adherence to the laws of the road designed to protect the pedestrian.  And in most circumstances, the laws seem to be common sense and extremely hard to not understand.  Yet so many people get so damn close to this pedestrian that I'm starting to get to a point that I'm going to carry a paddle or bat or something when I head out.

Every day I walk to and from work and I get my share of close calls.  And only one of those walks is during real traffic times.  And then there's my running.

As you may or may not know, I was "hit" by a car driven by a very old woman driving her cherry 4-door Gold Ford Taurus.  She forced me into the curb while on my bike, via a maneuver where she drove past me and hooked a right turn.  I had to avoid her, still received a tire skid mark on my left shoe, and after all was said and done, she drove on and I ended up with a torn rotator cuff.  Now, with my insurance done with this injury, I'm at about 80% use of the arm and I do daily routines on my own to keep trying to get it back online (So to speak).

So I'm a bit sensitive to drivers these days.  Since that time, I've had close calls on several different occasions... not all old folk mind you.  On two occasions, I was cut off by someone in a hurry to get past this pedestrian.  The first one gunned it and apparently didn't see that the car in front of him that was stopped.  He was pretty focused on me and getting past me before I passed through the halfway point of my crosswalk.

In this case, karma had its say.  He destroyed his own truck, did some serious damage to the truck in front of him, and damaged a 2nd car that his 1st victim slammed into.  (I chose to not say anything out-loud, but my inner voice was asking, "So... how did that work out for you?")  Yes, everyone got out and was OK.  I don't get sarcastic until I check everyone's health status.

There have been a few other cars that either outright don't see me or, at the same cross walk in downtown Menlo Park, someone else who needed to gun it to get past me.  This time, the driver slammed on his brakes.  Being evil, I then dropped what I was carrying and had to stop to pick it up.  No, it looked like I was surprised and it seemed to be a genuine drop.  (But I'm always looking for drivers like this.)  He he.

But today, I almost lost it.  Another old woman driving a cherry Oldsmobile 4-door silver death hammer pretty much made her right turn as I was stepping off the curb and missed my about maybe 6 inches.  I screamed out to "BE CAREFUL," avoiding the expletives that wanted out.  Just in case.  I can't have witnesses making note how unstable I appeared if I'm spewing profanities describing her mental facilities and driving skills, or lack thereof both.

And these entitled or frightened folks just take off and pretend not to see or look at you.  (But I am far-sighted people.  I see you "not turn your head," but I see your eyes peering at your mirror at me.)

And I'm starting to get tired of these old folks cutting me off like this.  It's nuts.  A few weeks back was able to "high-five" a fender that got within arm's reach of me as they "needed" to get wherever they were going 5 seconds sooner than if they had stopped for me to cross.  AND I'M NOT a rude pedestrian!  I pick up my pace and get out of people's ways because I know how it feels to be in the car, waiting for the pedestrian.

My recommendation to all:  If someone surprises you, cuts you off, etc., get their license plate numbers.  Report them to the police.  (OK, I was so upset I did not get today's plate number.)  But as someone put it...  if you report them and then they get into a serious accident somewhere down the road in time, that might be their fault, then there's a record of their driving habits.

Aside from not dying under their bumpers, that's the best I can come up with.  That and don't trust people to do the right thing.  Here in California, folks think that as pedestrians, they have the-right-of-way and they charge right out into the road.  Sometimes, not even looking.  But if you read the CA handbook of rules of the road, pedestrians have the right of way, "when it is safe to do so."  So be careful.  You aren't as protected as you think you are in this gladiatorial challenge of survival.

Bruce E. Simmons,
Brusimm.com (Twitter & Facebook)