Careless drivers threaten campus pedestrian traffic
September 25, 2006 —
I have always been taught that pedestrians have the right-of-way. It seems, however, that I may have been wrong. At least, this appears to be the case when crossing College Drive leaving the Pine Grove apartments. There may be other locations where this is happening, but I am quite familiar with this one since I walk it several times a day.
It seems as if there is a battle of wills when a car and a person reach a crosswalk. Drivers decide that since they are bigger, they are allowed to go whenever they choose.
This is unfortunate for any pedestrians, as they are left scrambling to make it to the sidewalk as a car charges towards them. I would just like to point out a few simple facts that many of us seem to have forgotten with regard to this issue.
One of the basic lessons we learn from Driver's Education is to obey posted signs. Even if we remember little else, we are encouraged never to forget this. I would like to take this opportunity to point out the two fairly large signs posted on College Drive. The signs face both directions of traffic. These signs have a large picture of a person and request you to slow down to let people cross.
The concept is simple and even fifteen-year-olds can grasp it: obey the signs and slow down.
There are two important observations regarding cars and people that most people seem to forget.
First, cars travel faster than people. Unless the car is a piece of junk or the person is an incredible runner, the car will make it to its destination far ahead of the person traveling on foot. When these two reach a junction, is it not logical, then, for the car to slow down and allow the person to cross?
Second, cars are stronger than people. In case some of us forgot, let us take a moment to review what cars are made of and what human legs are made out of: cars are made out of hard metal, rubber, and plastic. Legs are made out of bone and tissue. Add to this the fact that the car has an engine propelling it, and those legs don't stand a chance.
It's nerve wracking to be crossing the street with a car heading towards you at 20 miles per hour. While "Yield" may suggest a rolling stop, when a person is crossing, it would be courteous if you made more of an effort.
So please, for the sake of the pedestrians' nerves, slow down. And I mean really slow down, to the point where you would feel comfortable walking in front of your own car. Granted there's no stop sign, but a lot of people walk there.
A few people have mentioned that my request for slower cars might cause a backlash and that I may now be running a gauntlet as I try to cross College Drive. Please, don't hit me or anyone else for that matter. This is just my observation and request for courtesy. Be polite, follow signs. and slow down when there is someone walking.