Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Thanks for Not Hitting Me"

Last weekend I broke one of my own rules, and almost paid for it. I was walking south along the east side of Georgia Avenue, approaching Silver Spring Avenue. A car was stopped at the light – pulled-up almost in to Georgia Avenue. I had the walk signal, the driver was facing a No Turn on Red sign. His rear tire was in front of the stop stripe.

Normally, when faced with this situation, I try to walk in front of the vehicle so that the driver can see me. Because this wasn’t really possible, I should have stopped there and waited for the car to finally get the green light and move out of the crosswalk, but I was bringing home food and didn’t want to wait through another cycle. I took out my camera and took this photo.

I decided to go behing the vehicle in the crosswalk. Big mistake.

As I emerged from behind the car, I came face –to-face with a large black SUV taking a right turn off of Georgia Avenue at a good clip.
With both hit the brakes immediately and it wasn’t really that close. However, if either one of us had not been paying attention, I would probably have ended-up on her hood. I waited for a second or two, and it became obvious that she was going to wait for me – so I crossed the rest of the way. She floored it, and yelled out the window as she sped by, “ You’re Welcome!” It sounded a little as if she didn’t really mean it.
I was concentrating on getting out of her way, not expressing gratitude. When I made it to the curb safely I turned to reply, but she was gone. I waved and said to no one there, “Thanks for not hitting me.”

The camera was at my side, not in my face, and was set to take photos automatically. I wasn’t really paying attention to it at all. Either way, it was my mistake. The only thing the SUV driver did (apart from owning an SUV) was drive too fast, and be a little facetious.

The real trouble-maker was the driver of the car stopped in the crosswalk at a red light where NTOR is in effect. There is no legal reason to be pulled-up at this intersection. NONE. Disregarding this law isn’t harmless. It creates conditions that put people at risk. It is much more than a nuisance. Most accidents are the result of a combination of bad choices, risky behavior, poor planning, and denial. All three of the people involved in this incident are responsible. We just got lucky this time. I guess an insincere “You’re Welcome” is better than a sincere “I’m Sorry.”


  1. You must understand though that the car driver is not at fault at all; he/she didn't see you. If he/she didn't see you, then he/she can't be at fault.

    I understand that driving a car is very hard and that sometimes drivers don't see things like pedestrians or crosswalks. When I find a car in my crosswalk like you did my brain often responds in sympathy with their challenges by not seeing the car in the crosswalk. This usually causes both my body and the driver a rude awaking when I violently crash into the side of the car at full walking speed. At this point I am forced to offer my sincere apology and beg for forgiveness and understanding since I merely didn't see the car in the crosswalk.

  2. Except for the speed. And I guess I also take issue with the overall attitude reflected in the sarcastic call out the window as she drove by . Running into a car as a pedestrian is hardly the same as running into a pedestrian with a car.

  3. ...and another thing; the aggressive proprietary attitude of drivers scare us unprotected pedestrians. Even though I was obeying the law to the best of my ability, this drivers takes exception to my being in her way. She feels that she is doing me a favor by not smashing into me, and that I am travelling on HER road. This wasn't the case, by any stretch of the imagination.

  4. A pedestrian always has the right of way at an intersection. She should apologize to you for not knowing the law and for being a douche.

  5. I'm agreeing with Patrick. Pedestrians, no matter the situation, have the right of way. Of course, there will always be a pedestrian whose common sense seems to have lapsed. That lady shouldn't have been such a jerk, after all, if she did hit you, she's ultimately at fault.

  6. Sare Travel Leson 101--Since I am assuming that you have not taken advantage of formal orientation and mobility training (this includes cane travel techniques), a word to the wise. When you are not sure it is safe to cross, wait out the cycle. I'm not excusing the driver, but groceries or not, you took a risk that was not worth one bag of teh groceries you were carrying. One cycle longer would not ahve made tha tmuch of a difference with the food items. When it comes to humans vs cars, the car is usually gonna win.