Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fast Traffic Lights Can Kill You If You Walk Slowly

This is an outrage! Slow-moving pedestrian gets $114 ticket in Los Angeles California, for "obstructing traffic"!

Before I got my walker, I fell hard on my left knee. For three weeks I had a white cane (blindness), in my left hand, and a walking cane in my right hand. I looked like a pair of windshield wipers walking down the street. For obvious reasons, I couldn't walk very fast. People would run into me and push me out of their way, on the sidewalk, or even in the crosswalk. I guess they were working for the CIA and it was an emergency.

Back thirty or forty years ago the average age in the United States, was a twenty-something, so timed traffic lights were set fast (four feet per second). Now, the average age is around 50-something and crossing five lanes of traffic at that rate is getting harder.

While I'm on drivers, I hate it when you toddle up to an intersection and jut your car totally across the intersection. Your butt is truly centered in MY crosswalk! I realize, sometimes, it is because you can't see around a badly placed tree, or corner. Most of the time, however, you are just in such a hurry! Cybergal got angry at such a driver once and faked a freak-out in front of him. I had the white cane and sunglasses and knew I looked totally blind. I deliberately slammed into the side of his car and started screaming:

"Oh, oh, at the blind school they told us that drivers would never block the crosswalk. I must be in the street! Oh, no, I'm going to die!" This man abandoned his car and walked me three blocks to my job. All the while apologizing for overshooting the crosswalk! Staying in character I kept responding:

"They told me, drivers are nice and don't block my way!" I'll probably go to hell for that stunt, but it still makes me laugh. We get tired of walking around your stinking cars, trucks and busses at busy intersections. I heard of an athletic blind gentleman who, when encountering a car in his path, at an intersection, climbed onto the hood and, using only 'proper,' cane technique, tap, tap, taped his way right across the hood of the offending vehicle! I'll bet the driver didn't even notice. Some of you, unfortunately, are too stupid to be driving.

I now introduce a new game called 'pedestrian bluff". I begin to cross a lighted intersection, having a green light. You see me, decide to have some fun, gun your engine and make me believe you are going to run me over. At the very last moment, you bring your car to a screeching halt. May you contract an incurable disease. Sometimes this behavior even has an audio accompaniment:

"See, I told ya, the bitch ain't really blind! Ha, ha, ha!"

And then there are you bastards on bicycles. Both times I've been mugged, the perpetrator has been on a bicycle. I see a bicycle coming towards me, on the sidewalk. Before the second mugging, (where I fought back and got hurt), I didn't used to fear you. Now I want to run. But you are moving too fast. I pull way over and stand still until you pass.

My walker is metal and I feel a little safer. A car can still run me over and kill me, but my baby will really mess up your paint job! If I throw my baby into a bicycles's path, I think the biker might sustain some injury, before attempting to mug me.

I realize that 99.9% of drivers aren't like the above, but its getting very scary out there on the street. People in wheelchairs, crossing 19th Ave. in San Francisco, California, on their way to San Francisco State University, report drivers dowsing them with hot coffee, or other liquid, as they try and cross the intersection!

The new hybrid cars with both gas and electric motors are whisper quiet and can't be heard, above high background noise, by a blind person. As usual, enough of us haven't been killed yet to cause the necessary public outcry and political fallout. It is the same for your toddlers on their way to school. An intersection that needs a traffic light will only get one when a magic number of said toddlers are run over. I saw this process and knew the grieving parents of child four. After child six was killed, a traffic light was duly installed.

One closing note. I am not totally blind, but I see about three to five feet ahead of me. I have been stalked by drivers and pedestrians. I assume if a car begins to tail me, that I've got a nut on my hands. PLEASE don't yell greetings to me, tail me, or honk your horn, or screech your breaks, to get my attention. I almost had a boss arrested after he tailed me for two blocks yelling: "hey baby!" I wasn't laughing then, or now. Thank you to the 99.9% of you who are decent non-offending road warriors trying to do life, just like me.


MacPhilly said...

Now THIS is truley priceless literature.

OK ACLU - where the hell are you when it actually makes a difference like this? Oh! Too busy filing lawsuits for people that are idiots and acting offended because mentioning God in public is an offense to them. Yah, like morons like that - and these drivers aren't an offense to us just for taking valuable air. Remember, it's freedom OF speech, not freedom FROM speech. But I digress.

Brillant post. If there is a blogger award for the most relevant and funny post - you get my vote!

steven edward streight said...

I saw a news program where the cop said to cross at traffic lights is risky. At cross walks is where pedestrians get killed. Cop said it is safer and smarter to jaywalk. I always jay walk, and I never cross at cross walks at traffic lights.

BlogMistress Womansaver said...

So true!!!

And remember that continued abuse can actually change brain chemistry and only by applying some optimism and working on it will one ever recover or move on (at their own pace)