Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Look Both Ways...

I've been accused by at least one commentor of violating traffic laws by not stopping for pedestrians. Not sure if they were under the impression I don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, or what. I do stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. I just usually don't stop for pedestrians on the sidewalk waiting to cross in the crosswalk.

I am right, though, in that pedestrians don't always have the right of way. I've seen this mentioned at least one other time in the papers over the last two weeks. Now, it looks like the Eureka Police Department agrees with me that pedestrians are often responsible when there's a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident:

“In my experience, more often than not, when a pedestrian is involved in a traffic collision, the pedestrian is at fault,”. Eureka Police Officer, Gary Whitmer
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Along that same line, I experienced the perfect example yesterday of what drivers shouldn't be doing with regards to pedestrians:

Driving down Henderson Street in Eureka, just a couple blocks from the Eureka Mall. I notice a couple guys in the middle of the block- nowhere near the crosswalk- waiting to cross the street. I'm not gonna stop. Might cause an accident. They can wait for an opening in the traffic.

But not the guy on my right. Nope. He tries to be Mr. Courteous Driver and stops real fast to let the two guys cross. Damn! For a second I thought there was going to be an accident. Lucky he didn't get rear ended.

DON'T DO THAT, FOLKS!
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Speaking of crossing the street, not sure what to think of these pedestrian scrambles that Santa Rosa is trying out.

24 Comments:

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Petaluma they only allow crossing major intersections on one side and not the other and a timer starts when the green walk sign comes on and tells you how many seconds you have to make it across before the light changes. Have to hurry at a couple of streets. Person with a walker could not get across at all - might get to middle median and have to wait for someone to come along and push the "walk" button. If you don't push the walk button, the walk sign never comes on.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I have had similar experiences that you shared, 9:41, in other cities.

As a pedestrian I will step on to the crosswalk and wait until the traffic stops. As a driver I will stop, however, it is a bit confusing when pedestrians are crossing 101 in Eureka. If you stop suddenly, you are endangering yourself and the other drivers behind you. Sometimes drivers in the other lanes don't see the pedestrian, or they go around your car and pass.

What also annoys me are jaywalkers that don't cross at designated crosswalks.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Fred the "Eureka police department" DOESN'T agree with you.

Rather than quoting the rag Distorter that published one policeman's personal opinion, you should reference a more reliable source, the TS. The TS article quoted the Eureka Police Chief, who officially represents the department's opinion.

His press release says

”We would like to remind motorists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who have entered the crosswalk area,”

Your reason for not stopping for pedestrians who are properly intending to cross because you're afraid of being rear ended is foolish and unlawful. For dummys like you only a big fat ticket will make you behave. You'll get yours soon and then complain how expensive it is and how unfairly the system treated you. The best thing you could do for the rest of us is to get off the road and leave the driving to the "big boys".

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Nope. Wrong again, 12:25. Note my caps. Here's what they supposedly said:

"...yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who have ENTERED the crosswalk area,”.

That means they're IN the crosswalk, not on the sidewalk.

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thus. again, we see the importance of reading ALL the words in a sentence and considering their meaning before drawing conclusions.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger hucktunes said...

Right you are Fred. I can't count the number of times I've stood on a corner waiting for a chance to cross when a driver with good intentions will stop and try to wave me across, not aware of the danger to him and to me by the traffic barreling down on him from behind. If I were to try to cross I might get hit by a driver that doesn't see me and wondering why this guy is stopped will try to drive around him. I'll nod to the curteous driver and wave him through. I'm always thankful when folks get through an intersection with nobody getting hurt.

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out below what Fred actually wrote in July 29th comments, and decide he isn't a weasel wording doubletalking hypocrite. Fred's an idiot, denying the meaning of the drivel he writes.

Fred said:

I think I've mentioned here before that I feel stopping for pedestrians is problematic. I usually don't stop for pedestrians, and I don't want cars to stop for me when I'm on foot.

I prefer cars drive on through and I'll wait and find an opening to cross the street. I'd rather do that than have some car stop for me and the car behind him not seeing me or expecting the car in front of him to stop, thus causing an accident.

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I don't see that as double talk.

Probably not the clearest way of writing it, but I'm right. I'm talking about trying to cross the street. I don't want someone stopping for me, whether I'm standing on the sidewalk by the crosswalk or anywhere else.

Bob Huck seems to feel the same way.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:35 is still learning the English language.

 
At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday I stopped behind a car on a Eureka street. Its hazard lights were flashing. In the facing lane of traffic, a school bus was stopped, its hazard lights also flashing.

It's a good thing I stopped. They were waiting for a downed overhead line to be moved safely out of the way.

As we waited with our hazard lights flashing to warn drivers who might come up behind us, a driver drove a car up behind me. He or she promptly passed my car on the right, passed the car ahead of me on its right, and passed the people trying to move the overhead line into place.

That driver didn't have a clue the risk he or she was taking. But this is Eureka, and any who venture out onto our streets must naturally assume great risk attends the endeavor.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Carol said...

People need to make eye contact whether they are a pedestrian or a driver. Hazard lights should not be ignored.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger hucktunes said...

Also keep in mind that the pedestrian has a much better view of the intersection, over the top of cars, etc.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

It's kind of like rear-enders. Generally speaking, the fault is presumed to be the person in the rear. Not always the case.

Same with pedestrians. I guess there is a general sentiment that you owe more care when you're moving two-ton chunks of metal around at high rates of speed.

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

So, when is it not the fault of the driver who rear-ends another vehicle?

 
At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:21 According to Fred its whenever HE is the rear ender.

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever CPR is the person rear-ended.

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody should introduce your friend Joel Mielke to the Carson Park Ranger. A lot of people think they have a lot in common. Maybe someone could make a video of their meeting and post it on the Web. Sounds interesting to me.

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

The law states drivers are required to stop for pedestrians when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. The law also states pedestrians can't attempt to cross the street until it's safe to do so. This seems to create a conflict, a bit of a grey area in the law.

But it's really pretty simple. If you are a pedestrian, you don't have the right to step into the path of an on-coming vehicle that is too close to make a safe stop. If you are a driver, you are not obligated to slam on your brakes if you suddenly see a pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk.

But if you see a pedestrian in a crosswalk from a block away, you are obligated to stop. Likewise, if I am a pedestrian trying to cross the street and the closest car is a block away, I have the right of way, even if it means the car(s) has to stop for me; the driver has time to make a safe stop.

I will always stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk if there is no other traffic around. I will not stop if there is traffic around me, because I know I am just endangering the pedestrian.

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Agreed. Very well put, Andrew.

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

Often you can tell when a pedestrian is anxious to cross the street vs. when they are waiting for traffic to clear. If a pedestrian is standing at the curb with a foot in the crosswalk, I feel obligated to stop if I can do so without becoming a traffic hazard myself. If the pedestrian is standing back away from the curb, then I interpret that to mean she/he wants me to pass. Then there are the derelicts who like to walk out in front of cars and flip everybody off cuz stopping traffic is the only power they have in life. I just let them do their thing.

 
At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main thing with those hostile pubic inebriates is Don't tick them off or they might scratch your car's paint.

 
At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public.

 

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