Each morning I let out Shanti, my husky mix, feed Kira and Tawny, my cats, make coffee, shower, dress, gather my work materials for school (armed with lots of coffee), and head outside to the car.
Shanti will be there, whining. Since she was a puppy, she got some canned dog food as a “treat” to counter her anxiety about my leaving for the day. Now she demands it. As I tip-toe my way down the steps, over the coils of her leads, out to my car, she dances around me, her actions threatening to tangle me in the lead as I strive to haul my bags and laptop safely. She jumps as high as my shoulders, and lately, runs around me and ahead to place herself in my path, heading me off just in case that after four years of feeding her every morning, this will be the morning I forget if she doesn’t press the point. Bit annoying, actually.
Fifteen minutes later I will drive through the village of Cazenovia. Signs prominently posted remind drivers to give the right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk entering from either lane. Unfortunately, many pedestrians see this as a license to jaywalk, simply walking out into traffic at any point, expecting traffic to see them and stop. Even pedestrians in proper crosswalks step out from the curb abruptly, walking out in front of a car six feet away, expecting it to stop. After all, it’s their right.
What are they thinking? This goes far beyond attitude. Even drivers crawling along at 15-20 m.p.h. can’t stop that fast—and even when they try, as some do, cars behind them are likely to rear end them. Most pedestrians are also drivers—surely they must know that drivers can’t see and respond to people rushing into the road suddenly at any point, ESPECIALLY around dawn and dusk.
But then, plenty of drivers race around fellow drivers, cut them off, pull out suddenly in front of them, all to accomplish little more than irrational displays of impatience and arrogance.
I’m reminded of a movie I saw in class as a child. Without looking, a pedestrian properly stepped into an intersection in front of an unseen car, exercising right of way. The movie’s title? “Dead
Right.” Doing that for SEEN traffic just seems stupid.