Upstream

8 Jul

Both the pedestrians and the cars are stupid here in SpoKompton.  The drivers are really terrible tail-gators, aggressively following too close most of the time.  They will abruptly change lanes (cutting off other vehicles) when someone is turning in front of them, instead of waiting for 2 minutes.  They NEVER slow down in snow.  There are several other annoying driving behaviors, but you get the gist.  

The pedestrians cross the street anywhere.  Even if a crosswalk is less than a block away.  And they’ll just dart out in front of cars–even if there is a mile gap behind the car.  They don’t wait.  Worst of all, the people out after dark tend to wear BLACK.  They don’t know about white/light/reflective clothing for night strolls.  So drivers really have to keep their eyes peeled.

As a result of this combined stupidness there are tons of hit & runs in town.  I can’t even count them.  One guy at the end of our road, was crossing in a dark area that specifically has a road block and signs that say “do not cross” (probably wearing dark clothes and maybe on substances) and got run over.  Well, when all was said and done, the man was hit by 4-5 drivers who then left the scene.  He was killed, of course.

So that’s the bleak side of it, here’s a little firsthand story that might lighten the mood:

I was driving down a main road after work one night (last summer?) after dark.  I saw something shine in the median and immediately slowed down.  It was a wheelchair bound person crossing the street about 2/3 block from the stoplight and crosswalk.  

in the street–jaywalking or is it jay-rolling? 

I saw they intended to cross in front of me–though I was the only car in sight at the time.  But I also saw that since this was not a crosswalk, there was a curb on the side of the street.  This wheeler was obviously not paying attention to that because they proceeded to cross the dark street.  

Meanwhile the light from the intersection behind us changed and a group of cars came speeding up.  Seeing me stopped, they all went to change lanes to pass me.  Unfortunately, the wheelchair (remember it’s dark) had made it to the outside lane and I held my breath thinking they were sure to be hit.

Luckily, at the last minute the front car slammed on its brakes seeing the impediment in their lane.  But the wheelchair couldn’t get out of the road because of the curb.  There were 2 choices:  Either drive along the road to the next light or go the opposite direction of traffic upstream in the lane) and go to the next road where there would be no sidewalk.

Obviously, the person in the road had a mind to do option number 2.  And sat waiting for the group of cars to reverse enough so they could pass.  So there were 4 or 5 cars reversing so this wheelchair person could go opposite of traffic and find a low spot to go over.

 That’s the kind of thing you get here.  I was just glad no one was hurt and relieved I wasn’t a witness to anything.

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