Let’s Review!

As one who is both regularly a pedestrian and behind the wheel I’ve noticed a lot of confusion regarding the rules of the road. Here are some helpful tips, clarifications, addendums, codicils, hacks, inclusions, annexations, impositions, and aggregations.

walkPedestrians: when you see this sign it means you can safely cross the street.

Drivers: when you see this sign it’s usually accompanied by a red light. Drive on through and yell at the pedestrians to get out of your way.

 

 

 

 

dontwalkPedestrians: when you see this sign it means you need to dart quickly into traffic, dodging oncoming vehicles as best you can.

Drivers: when this sign is lit be sure to aim your car at pedestrians to see if they’ll get out of the way. This is all part of a fun game we call “thinning the herd”.

 

 

 

 

018This is where pedestrians are generally known to cross, but, like a deer crossing, pedestrians might cross the street anywhere or at any time.

Drivers: be sure to keep some rope or bungee cords in your trunk so you can take home any pedestrians you happen to hit. They’re good eating, and that guy in the suit who was talking on his cell phone is going to look great stuffed and mounted in the corner of your den.

 

 

002In the United States this is called a crosswalk. In Britain it’s called a zebra crossing because of the large number of zebras who emigrated from South Africa. In Canada it’s called an oh, do you mind if I cross the street here, eh? In Australia it’s called a wakka-wakka-burra-burra.

When you see this sign it means this is a place where pedestrians who are already in the process of crossing have the right of way. If pedestrians are on the sidewalk drivers need to come to a halt, give that condescending two fingered wave, and then slowly inch forward. Drivers also get bonus points for blowing their horn at pedestrians in the middle of crossing.

 

 

 

I hope this makes everything perfectly clear for everyone except bicyclists and motorcycle riders who insist on coming up behind me on the sidewalk.

17 Comments

  1. kdcol

    So glad you cleared this up! 🙂 I live in a place that is not conducive for pedestrians / bicyclists. You’re risking your life anytime you venture. It doesn’t help that the bike lanes are illogical, and the light rail shares the roadway to boot.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You’re lucky to have light rail but having it share the roadway seems like an unnecessary hazard. It was dangerous enough being a pedestrian in the horse and buggy days. I live in an area where, even though there are buses, it’s still pretty much assumed that everyone has a car and there are numerous places that just can’t be reached without a car. A few years ago some bus routes were eliminated and I wondered if any people who depended on the bus had to find different jobs.

      Reply
  2. Margot

    The annexations and impositions were by far the best part of this post. I couldn’t spot a single hack, by the way.

    Being from and having lived over four decades in the clusterfuck otherwise known as the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m still having some trouble assimilating the polite ways of the good people of the Bluegrass. At least a few times a week I find myself at a four way stop yelling (windows closed and my kids not with me, of course) “Somebody go already for fuck’s sake!” I’ve been to Nashville twice now, and have definitely noticed that the drivers in your fair city are not nearly as courteous.

    Reply
    1. Margot

      Just imagine the rules of the road that went into making this video…

      Reply
      1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        Holy cow. Almost as many as were broken making this one:

        Reply
        1. Margot

          Touché!

          Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The drivers in Nashville aren’t nearly so curious because 90% of the population of Nashville is from somewhere else. Well, maybe not that much, but Music City attracts aspiring singers and songwriters and assorted performers, producers, and other musical misecellanea, not to mention the celebrities who see this as a place to get away. But at least we don’t have streetcars.

      Reply
  3. Shawna

    I recently moved to Arizona and learned a fun fact about four way stops. If you are at a four way stop in the summer time with your windows rolled down people assume you have no air conditioning and let you go first! At first I was like, “How dare you assume that my 1991 Crown Vic doesn’t have air conditioning!” And then I was like, “Oh, THANK F@*KING GOD BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING!”

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      At least in Arizona you’re not far away from the mountains. Don’t have air conditioning? You’re just a few hours from a twenty degree temperature drop. One December we drove through northern Arizona on our way to California. I’ve never seen so much snow fall so quickly. The next year we made the same trip but took a more southerly route. Considering how warm it was there in middle of winter I can’t imagine what it must be like there now.

      Reply
  4. Gina W.

    It’s funny how the driver/pedestrian mindset changes so quickly. As you pull into a busy a parking lot and the pedestrians are slowly crossing in front of you it’s like, “Oh good lord, hurry up already”. Then you park, get out and attempt to cross the parking lot. If a car doesn’t slow down you’re immediately like, “Pedestrians have the right of way, you jerk!”. Basically I guess we’re all hypocrites…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, although I do try to get the hell out of the way of oncoming cars when I’m a pedestrian. When it comes down to a few pounds of flesh and bone versus a few tons of steel and glass the rules of the road don’t matter. It’s something I keep in mind when the light is red and I’ve got the WALK signal and an oncoming car is determined to speed right through the intersection anyway.

      Reply
  5. Spoken Like A True Nut

    Don’t forget, red lights and stop signs are entirely optional for cyclists.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s very important to keep in mind, especially when they come charging up behind you on “Pedestrians Only” walkways.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    On the behalf of all motorists and pedestrians, thank you for this non-pedestrian post. Also, knowing about the zebra crossing will come in handy over the next eight days, as I’m herding at least one young colt through the streets of Edinburgh.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I can’t tell you how much I envy the time you’ll spend in the home of Robbie Burns. Or rather near the home of Robbie Burns. And at the Fringe Festival which, from what I’ve read, must be a real treat. I was in Edinburgh in October one year and still had a wonderful time. I took a ghost tour, and I happened to be there on the day Scotland and England played off in a championship football match. I had once nice gentleman in a pub buy me a pint just for being American. If I were English, he told me, he’d put a knife in me, so maybe he wasn’t that nice.

      Reply
  7. PinkNoam

    A guide like this that’s applicable to Holland would be awesome. It needs an additional section for cyclists and when it’s appropriate to continue texting on your mobile and then shout Dutch obscenities at the pedestrians who dared to try and cross when the little green man came on.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      After the Puritans left Britain but before they settled in America they spent some time in Holland. I’m beginning to think that explains some American driving habits–such as running red lights and yelling at pedestrians to get the fuck out of the road.

      Reply

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