It must be because the warm weather brings out so many people walking that I feel I have to go over this once more. In front of the building where I work there’s a crosswalk. In Britain they call them zebra crossings, or that thing the Beatles were in blocking traffic for the Abbey Road album. Anyway this seems to cause an immense amount of confusion. I’ve seen fellow pedestrians step right into the street and glare at oncoming traffic which has to come to a screeching halt, and I’ve seen drivers come to a screeching halt when there are pedestrians on the sidewalk patiently waiting for the traffic to go by so they can safely cross the street.
Also “sidewalk” is a U.S. term. According to Wikipedia’s Simple English it’s also called “a footpath (Australian English, Irish English, Indian English and New Zealand English) or footway (Engineering term)”, all of which make sense and in Britain it’s called a “pavement” which makes no sense because pavement is what streets are made of and the Beatles could have walked on it without blocking Abbey Road, but that’s another story.
Anyway here are some terrible and unhelpful diagrams made with the help of Google Earth that I hope will clear up confusion about everything except why the British call a sidewalk a “pavement”.
In this first diagram I am represented by a blue dot in the middle of a tree. Actually I would be standing on the sidewalk because the trees really aren’t that good for climbing. As long as I am on the sidewalk the oncoming car has the right of way and the driver doesn’t have to stop and give me that condescending little hand wave. As you can see in the picture there’s also a bus stop that looks like it’s out in the intersection. The bus really stops right in front of where the blue dot is which I’m sure is convenient for people who want to get out on that side of the street but buses tend to sit there so pedestrians who want to cross can’t see oncoming traffic and vice versa. Thanks, bus drivers!
In this next diagram I am again the blue dot on the other side of the street even though I’m not that round and haven’t been that blue since one Halloween. Again the oncoming car has the right of way. Also that redbud tree I appear to be standing in has been cut down so it’s even worse for climbing but Google hasn’t updated the picture yet.
In this next picture I am represented by the blue dot in the middle of the intersection. I now have the right of way but should only step out into the crosswalk, zebra crossing, or Abbey Road thingy when there is no oncoming traffic.
In this picture the oncoming traffic is a triceratops. If you’re riding a triceratops you always have the right of way even though they’re slow-moving and will probably stop to eat the trees.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE VIDEOS?!?!?!?! I can’t imagine why this dance didn’t make it – other equally moronic dances certainly have!
Wonderful mood lifter – Thank you!
Too young to remember the ’80’s? That little ditty may not have hit the top of the charts thirty-odd years ago but it peaked fairly high. Anyway I’m glad a dinosaur ride lifted your spirits.
Actually, too old to remember the 80’s….I was fast approaching my mid-30’s to have time for the 80’s. Wasn’t that the era of the Mullet? (Shudder).
I’m so relieved to finally know how to react when a triceratops approaches an intersection. I hope you realize how many lives you are saving by sharing this information.
If there’s one thing I hope to accomplish it’s a successful writing career, but preventing unnecessary dinosaur-related deaths is definitely on the list of other things I hope to accomplish.
OK, but why were you blue on Hallowe’en? Did I miss something? Papa Smurf? One member of the BlueMan Group?
Actually I was an Andorian from Star Trek. So instead of being a shade of cobalt a la l’Hommes Bleu I was more of a celeste.
If I could create cool diagrams like those, I’d have one of me, somewhere, asking the same question about your being blue on Halloween. I’d also have another diagram showing all of the different places I’ve listened to “Walk the Dinosaur.”
You never know when you might meet an Andorian when you’re out walking the dinosaur.
The video won’t play for me in my country for some reason (although The Who played fine and woke my husband up while trying to have a Saturday morning lay-in in peace 🙂
I think pavements are called pavements here because they are generally made with paving slabs to create a path thus making a pavement.
I quite like the US term, sidewalk but if I used that word here, people would correct me and say “No no, that’s a path!” (parth in Brit pronunciation)
And with regard to Zebra crossings, We also have Pelican, Toucan and Puffin crossings just to confuse things. I have no idea what they all are because I cross the road wherever I feel like it and would be constantly arrested for Jay Walking if I lived in the US. Pedestrians have right of way here although it isn’t a good idea to get into arguments with cars about who had the right to occupy the place in the road where you find yourself staring at the sky with lifeless eyes.
You’ve got all kinds of animals crossing the street over there. It’s no wonder you have to mind the gap. And I do like the term “path” because, as the old saying has it, if a black cat crosses your path it means it’s going somewhere. I doubt you’ll ever get black cat crossings though since some people consider those unlucky, and they have a problem with black cats too. The crossings certainly are unlucky if you happen to be hit by a car.