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Do You Walk Like You Drive?

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  • Do You Walk Like You Drive?

    This is a question that passes through my mind on an almost daily basis. I have the privilege of being employed in one of the greatest cities I’ve ever had honour to work. Washington DC offers virtually everything to every kind of person and personality there is in the human mind. There are the arts, history and the sciences here, all for the asking and the taking.

    However there is one thing that troubles me often. During the work week I can be found wandering the downtown streets of Washington, just strolling around on any given noon hour, and often again in the middle afternoon. There is one thing that would drive a saint to insanity. PEDESTRIANS. They come in all sizes, shapes and colours, and all in a separate world unto themselves. Generally that part is not so bad. Each moves and weaves between other pedestrians, like some exotic dancer, each to his or her own beat. I’ve seen folks who looked so absorbed in his or her own personal world to the point of thinking they were not even on this planet, when suddenly that person “bumps” into an acquaintance or old friend. Smiles, greetings, handshakes and hugs are passed back and forth and for a moment or two of idle chatter ensues. Then each goes his own way, and back into the world he was in before the encounter.

    You ask what does all that have to do with my opening question? Well it goes something like this. Picture a beautiful mid September day, the noon sun is shining and it is warm, but lacking the stark humidity of the summer months. A cool breeze rustles discarded newspapers, as it sings between the buildings.

    You approach the four way intersection and realize that the walk signal has turned to the “Hand” and the cars in your line of travel have a red light. So you stop at the curbs edge, you and several others. Standing there watching the cars go by as you begin to contemplate life and other things. Suddenly from the corner of your eye, you catch movement. It’s another pedestrian, much like you, who is heading in a similar direction. Only as you turn slightly to look, you see that he has a distant expression on his face. This is slightly different from the others – you know for sure this person is deeply “lost” in thought. The evidence of this becomes very blatantly apparent in the next two or three paces, because he passes through the crowd like Moses at the Red Sea, to the curb edge and beyond. You know he hasn’t looked in any direction, or taken regard for the vehicle traffic that is flowing by at a very steady rate. And you know he hasn’t seen and is not aware that there are three cars riding in the opposite side of the bus who’s path he is about to step off into. The driver of the bus sees the hazard and has just enough time to slow and allow this wayward walker to pass through. The cars on the other side are not quite so fortunate. However each is able to “dodge” the Walker and no harm is done. This time.

    Through all this, your own heart has gone into overdrive and you instinctively cringe because you know only too well what should have happened. You know the stats and the stories that are reported almost weekly about pedestrians being struck by and either seriously injured or killed in this City. At the end of it, you take a deep breath, the light turns green and you carry on your travels.

    If you’re like me, you’ll be shaking your head till the next intersection, where again the light is red and you stop to wait. Chances are the events above will take place yet again. Its a different person, and a different intersection, and fortunately, a similar result. No harm done. But you know Mr Murphy and his laws, almost as well as you know the Law of Averages. One day you will be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you will be witness to the “crunch”.

    Something I’ve noticed since my arrival to this area during the summer of 2006 is that drivers move their vehicles down busy city streets and highways with little understanding for the other vehicles around them. It is my steadfast belief that folks here were taught how to drive, with horse and buggy, because that is about what the manners are like. And I am sure this is how they walk too. Most folks are pretty good about stopping to wait for the green light, but others are either too self-absorbed in their own thoughts or else they just don’t care. There have been many times, and will be more still, when I want to reach out and grab the person by the shoulder and give them a shake while asking, “Excuse me, but are you looking to become someone’s hood ornament?” I’m sure that some of these people are really looking to have “Mercedes Benz” written across their forehead or something.

    I’ve travelled to almost every culture on this planet and I’ve seen a lot of strange and wonderful things, but the discourtesy of pedestrians and drivers that I see here on a daily basis is just mind boggling. Its no wonder this city has the high rate of pedestrian/vehicular incidents that it does. And ya know – it’s a shame because this is a wonderful place to work and to visit, and I really do like being here.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    not alone

    We have our own fair share of vehicle/pedestrian accidents due to the large volume of visitors. As I have heard many times before,"Peoples will be Peoples".

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    • #3
      If I walked like I drove....

      I'd be on the sidewalk a lot more...
      Be safe y'all!
      IACOJ Animal Control
      Ladder 8
      "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

      Comment


      • #4
        I used to drive a bus for a taxi company and before I got that job,I always figured that the movie plotline of a cabbie kvetching about the other drivers was just a fiction thing used to add humor to the story.
        Like the Sergeant said in "U-571", ''No no more."
        I've seen people talking on the phone and weaving sans turn signals,people rummaging through purses and briefcases,applying makeup and shaving(not the same person,though)changing clothes and one memorable sighting of a couple,well,coupling while driving down I-24.
        Pedestrians aren't much better.People act like the world revolves around them and everyone else should make way for them.There was a group of children that lived across a busy 5 lane road from a park that would actually time their charges across the street to make sure there would be traffic that would have to stop.
        They've been asked by the police why they'd do it and they thought it was fun.When asked what they thought would happen if they got hit,they didn't care because they knew the driver would be the one found at fault.
        Getting hit by a car is a hell of a thing to not care about when you are a kid.

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        • #5
          Nothing annoys me worse than pedestrians on campus who stop in the middle of the effing sidewalk to have a conversation. For the love of God, just step to the side!
          Just know, I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

          Originally posted by FlyingKiwi
          Go put your pussy 2 1/2" lines away kiddies.

          Originally posted by Explorer343

          By the way KEEPBACK200FEET, you're so dramatic!

          Comment


          • #6
            Doug, I can sympathize on you "copulating couple". I was enroute from Calgary to Prince George one summers eve, just a bit east of Banff, when I came across a Honda Prelude truck'n down the road. It was travelling a little bit slower than I was, and as I pulled along side, I saw the male driver, weaing Ray Bans and a big smile. In another two seconds, I found out why the big smile. A second pair of Ray Bans "sat up", smiled, waved, and went back down again..................... And all I could think at that time was "Gee, I wish I had a pair of Ray Bans."
            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

            Comment


            • #7
              Its just life in general. People are in their own little worlds and just dont pay attention. Be it walking, driving, shopping or whatever. We could probably cut traumatic injuries by 75% if people would just pay attention to whats going on around them.
              Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

              IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

              "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
              RUSH-Tom Sawyer

              Success is when skill meets opportunity
              Failure is when fantasy meets reality

              Comment


              • #8
                We could probably cut traumatic injuries by 75% if people would just pay attention to whats going on around them.
                ROTF. You want people to start THINKING for themselves, after two millenia of practice to the contrary.
                Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
                Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dave1983
                  Its just life in general. People are in their own little worlds and just dont pay attention. Be it walking, driving, shopping or whatever. We could probably cut traumatic injuries by 75% if people would just pay attention to whats going on around them.
                  Agreed.We're all just legends in our own minds.Every man-jack one of us.

                  Comment

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