Dear People Walking in The Road

This is The Road. The Road is where cars and other vehicles travel. You are pedestrians, you’re walking in beautiful, safe Menlo Park. We have sidewalks here. On both sides of the road. Nice and smooth. Please use them. Please do not act like I’m in your way when I’m traveling legally on the road. I’m not going to hit you, but you don’t belong in the road, and you don’t have an invisible force field around you, so I’m going to indicate that you are traveling hazardously, possibly using my bell or horn. Just in case maybe it actually occurs to you, after said indication, that 1) this is The Road, and 2) someone else might hit you, even if I didn’t.

Yes, I’m a frequent pedestrian. Yes, I walk in the road, occasionally. Going the right way, as near to the side as possible, after checking that there’s no traffic coming. Or crossing, preferably at an intersection, after checking to see that cars and bicycles are either absent or aware of my presence and stopped or clearly planning to stop. There are times and places to use the road. The middle of the road, randomly, walking like a drunk person? No. The bike lane, because you’re just too cool and fast to run on the sidewalk a foot away? No. These are not times and places to use the road.

And for counterbalance, my letter to Mr. Roadshow, which hasn’t been published (yet — come on, Mr. Richards, it was a well-written letter on a relevant topic, and you didn’t publish any other letter of the same type — you ought to drop it in!)

Dear Mr. Roadshow,

While I very much agree with your strong message to pedestrians to cross legally and with care, drivers need a strong message as well: drive carefully and be courteous. I can’t count the number of times I have been crossing a street legally at a crosswalk and had my right-of-way violated by a turning motorist, or had a motorist simply ignore me as I tried to cross a driveway.

Drivers: Allow pedestrians their legal right-of-way at intersections, especially when turning right. Stop before you turn. Remember, just because the intersection doesn’t have painted crosswalk lines doesn’t mean it is not a crosswalk. Pedestrians may cross at any intersection unless otherwise indicated by a sign. Come to a complete stop (not the famous California rolling stop) at stop signs and allow pedestrians who arrived first to cross before you go. Pay attention to your surroundings. And don’t wait for the next Drive the Speed Limit Day to SLOW DOWN. Speed is lethal.

Leave a Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required.