2006/08/31

Rules of the Road

In response to Tuesday's Blogsphere fit about the San Francisco's 'hit and murder' driver, I received quite a number of nasty emails. Most were incoherent trash, but two messages took me to task for failing to mention that pedestrians have a responsibility to look out for themselves. Another even suggested that cars turning right on a green have the right of way, and do you know what I say to that... GO BACK TO TRAFFIC SCHOOL, MORON!!!

Here's the deal... As long as that light is green--as long as there is a crosswalk at an uncontrolled intersection--then pedestrians have the right of way. Period!!! But just in case your brain is so addled that an analogy would help, try this one on for size:

versus

Is about the same as...

versus

So the next time you feel like inching your 2 ton Explorer through a bunch of pedestrians, take a moment and consider how you'd feel if a 200 ton diesel locomotive tried to inch past your SUV, and then... STOP!

20 Comments:

Good grief. What got those people so wild and addled? It must be the thinking that the automobile is god. Love what you did with your Impeach banner.
Kvatch, I came across this website today and thought of you: Car Free Ann Arbor. In this case, the site was started as a resource for people who want to chose a lifestyle not tied down to a car. However, I thought the idea might transfer to your situation. You could start a Car Free San Francisco and use it as a sounding board to voice your concerns and complaints and encourage city officials to ban cars in the heart of the city.

Just a thought.
Forgot to tell you that I love the new opening page here at Blognonymous!
Well bugger me with a fishfork froggy - Tthough I can to the wrong link! Some entry!
On the post: I'm not sure your cagers understand anything a subtle as a locomotive.
Kathy, that's a good link. Thanks for forwarding it. We have three car sharing services in San Francisco, and the Frogette and I belong to one, CityCarShare. So living here without a car is easy. The bigger problem is convincing others to gime 'em up--435K cars for 750K people.
All...thanks for the comments on the entry banner. It's all part of the Impeachnet call to action for September 1st.
YEA!! you tell 'em

i swear, sometimes i thnk that our world WOULD be so much better if we would just let the gas prices get so high that these people can't drive their SUV's anymore

then they would have to walk...karma baby, karma
Excellent analogy...I'm not confident that a lot of people will get it, though.

I think I'm going to try making a concerted effort (writing to legislators and such) on the differential speed limit for SUVs. Those things are killing machines.
Tom... Cartledge said much the same thing.

Any efforts to regulate SUVs would be a good thing, but in the inner city, I think that it's drivers of all kinds ignoring the rules of the road that lead to most pedestrian fatalities. The biggest offences IMHO are:

1) Red-light running
2) Failing to yield during right turns or
left turns from one-ways to one-ways
3) Ignoring the rights of pedestrians in
marked crosswalks
4) DWToaMFCP (Driving While Talking on a
Mother-f*cking Cell Phone)
I can't believe some idiots actually wrote that without checking the LAW first. Some people are such pigs--makes me hope they do get run over by a train. Unfortunately, they aren't quite the same. An SUV on the tracks could possibly cause a train to derail, risking the lives of people on board the train. The driver almost always dies, but they can take a lot of people with them (I was on a commuter train in Chicago that hit an SUV--we were lucky that the engineer slowed us down in time and just killed the idiot in the SUV).
Different states have some different rules for driving. For instance, I learned to drive in California, where it was illegal to pass on the right, but it's legal everywhere else I've lived.

However, I'm fairly certain pedestrians have the right of way in every state, and it is frightening if people don't know that.
Sothis... I was really trying to call people's attention to the weight and destructiveness. I sometimes think that drivers don't have a clue how scary it is for pedestrians when 2 tons of moving SUV gets within a foot or two of your body--bout the same I guess as if 200 tons of slow moving locomotive were to get within a couple of feet of your car.

Julie, I think that you are right on the pedestrian thing, but I didn't know that passing on the right was legal anywhere.
Kvatch, when I lived in Chicago I walked everywhere (or took the CTA) and I had to develop a brass pair just to cross the road when it was my right of way. I almost got kneecapped not once but TWICE by two different Volvo-drivers failing to stop at four-way stop signs. Both were yapping on cellphones.

I like the Car Talk campaign - "SHUT UP AND DRIVE!"
Kvatch, thanks for bringing to our attention the fact that there are morons out there that don't understand about pedestrians and right-of-ways. That was a real eye opener.
Julien... Honestly I wasn't sure if you all could stand one more unhinged rant from me on the subject. I believe that everyone pretty much knows what the rules of the road (stupid emailers aside), it's just that people are increasingly choosing to ignore them.

Lukku, going carless in Chicago (or simply choosing not to drive) is harder than here in Sodom by the Sea, and I commend you for it. The Frogette has been hit three times (she is, unfortunately, a car magnet), and at no time did the drive at fault apologize or even offer assistance.
The kids and I frequent the very locations this nut ball ejaculated all over...Fucker.

P.S. I like your Impeach pre-blog spread.
I was concerned your anger could lead to getting you into trouble. I know it's frustrating as hell, but be careful. The world needs you, Frog.
Windspike...thanks. It's all part of that Impeachnet, September 1st movement. I picked up the idea from Peacechick Mary.

PT...actually you're right, and I do need to stop letting my anger get away with me. I've had guys back up the street trying to get to me after I've flipped them the bird for red light running.
I've noticed that drivers in our capital (Ljubljana) are way more curtious than outside. For instance, they almost always wait (except the taxis) if there's a pedestrian waiting to get across.

But I always let them know who's way it is, and my gf is always freaking out that I'll get hit.

And btw, thanks, I was pondering what the English phrase for "right of way" was. :D
Actually, it's no harder here in Chicago to go carless than it is in NYC or San Francisco. I've visited but never lived in SFO, but I did live in NYC for 31 years before moving to Chicago in the early 2000s. The rail and bus system here is bit more dodgy than in NYC (as in, less well maintained) but it gets you easily anywhere in town you want to go.

Of course, getting out to the suburbs is another story. But, let's face out, how many of us who live in inner-city Gotham, San Francisco, or Chicago really look forward to heading out into the hinterland anyway?

I will say the drivers here are the worst I've ever encountered. New Yorkers may ignore lane markers, but Chicagoans -- on a chillingly regular basis -- ignore red lights. Hogtown has got to be the American capital of blown red lights. If you begin to cross a street at a crosswalk when the light changes, you're in trouble. Chances are one or two cars are still about to go flying through against the light.

Speaking as someone who lives downtown, I've lost count of the number of times I've kicked, banged, knocked on, and otherwise beaten upon someone's car for almost hitting me or some little old lady just trying to obey our green signal.

Makes one yearn for California...

Northern California.

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