Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bill Smith’s Walking Rules

1. Take care of your feet. Wear higher-quality, rugged shoes that are comfortable. TRY THEM ON IN THE STORE. Find shoes that you like and can depend on for many miles. Buy different shoes for different occasions, uses, weather and seasons. Don’t wear the same shoes all the time. Soak your feet.
2. Obey the law. Cross at the crosswalks when the signals say it is OK. Never assert your right to be in the road when the opponent is still moving. Laws are made to protect people, but laws are not always obeyed or enforced. A signal light can’t make a car stop – it is really only a suggestion. It’s up to you to make sure the vehicles are stopped before you enter the roadway. Even if others think it is OK to cross, you wait for the light. Never let someone else’s lack of caution encourage you to do the same. Take the long way, if you have to, but try not to walk in the street with moving traffic.
3. Be aware of “Crazy Driver Day.” On some days, crazy and belligerent drivers infect others, creating an army of Zombie-like risky drivers. Conflict and near misses everywhere you go. On Crazy Driver Day, everyone is behind. Everyone is in a hurry, and YOU ARE IN THE WAY. Drivers are frustrated, and accept the idea of risky behavior (speeding, RLR, cell phone usage, etc.) more easily. Take extra precautions and be even more deliberate on Crazy Driver Day. Stand back from the curb at the corner. Look both ways twice. TAKE YOUR TIME.
4. Think things out first. Make lists. Combine tasks into manageable trips. Take the proper equipment – gloves, cart, shopping bags, umbrella, sunglasses, cell phone, etc. Watch the weather. Go when the weather is most agreeable. Consider obstructions like ice, trucks, and holes in the ground, trash day, or construction. Map out favorite routes.
5. Report problems immediately. The only way to make the way clear is to report when you come across obstructions. Take a photo and note the address. Send a report to the County at their website. Get someone to look at the problem. Keep at it. Ask for reports, results, and policy changes. Expect your home County and State to comply with Federal guidelines. More than that – expect your Home County and State to be at the forefront of urban design and maintenance – not lagging-behind. There are many people in government who are eager to help – waiting to hear from you.
6. Support Local Business. If you can walk to a store – go there every once in a while and support them with your business. Walk places and buy things.
7. Don’t expect perfection. The Right-of-way belongs to everyone. Some people are stupid, and you just can’t avoid that reality. There are clear bare-minimum standards. Insist on those, but don’t worry about perfection.
8. Stop and smell the roses. Linger on an attractive view. Tip musicians. Put a Dollar in the box. Smile and say “Hi” as often as it seems appropriate – which isn’t very often.
9. Say “Thanks” to all Crossing Guards.
10. Always remember that speed alters perception. Regularly traveling more than 30 MPH was only invented a few years ago. Spending your life enclosed in a metal box that hurls through the trees at 75 MPH just isn’t natural. Surely America is suffering from a mass delusion brought on by speed-enduced mental strain. You just can’t expect people in that condition to be rational, can you?

I’ll add to this initial ist when I think of more.

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