Saturday, February 19, 2011

On the appropriate protocols on jaywalking

I am not an endorser of jaywalking. It's dangerous. You should use a pedestrian crossing always. But I am also an endorser of bicycle helmets and I don't even own one, despite being a bike commuter* since I moved to Boston. Yes. I am that guy that will step on the yellow line at a subway station. And I don't do that for the thrills (after all these are just stupid things, not adrenaline-filled risks), just sheer stupidity. Well, all this paragraph was just to state that I am a shameless jaywalker.

*that was before the winter

But in the US, it's trickier to jaywalk. And, curiously, this is because of the fear of lawsuits that surrounds everyone. You see, unless you are in the middle of an interstate, an accident involving a pedestrian will be blamed on the driver. He may escape criminal charges unless he's drunk or crossing a red line or at high speed, but will always be paying for the medical care. A result of this is that drivers start freaking out are cautious whenever they see a pedestrian that is just standing by the sidewalk.

And this bothers me a lot because an important element for the true jaywalker is getting the timing right, specially in high traffic avenues. You have to look for a gap in which the break on the flow coming from the right and the left will align with the time it takes for me to cross the street. But the fact that drivers slow down when I start looking to cross throws the all the timing off.

So drivers, please don't stop for me, keep doing your thing. I'm not suicidal, promise.

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