Friday, January 13, 2017

It's Called a Crosswalk People

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(St Jude Marathon a few years back. I know we are not using the crosswalk here but at least there is a crosswalk in the picture)
With so many political facebook posts dissolving lifelong friendships left and right, I figured we should stop and talk about something that really matters.


Yes, well crosswalks and pretty much pedestrians in general. After having run on the roads, mostly out of necessity for lack of any alternative, for over twenty-four years (ouch that hurts to think about) I have come to a few conclusions about what drivers think of runners. And that's all well and good, (not really but whatever) but what I'm talking about here is beyond the general jerk who slings objects (yes it happens) or slurs out of his car window for some reason. Let's go beyond the unexplainable portion of our population who for some reason grow angry and swerve their cars towards the runners on the road.

I would like to talk about the average every day citizen, who I tend to hope is a good person just trying to get to work. I imagine they are in a hurry with places to go. But what I've had a hard time getting my mind around is their lack of understanding of basic pedestrian laws or in general the absence of any empathy for their fellow human being just trying to get a run in amidst the confusion of their day.

Crosswalks. Back to crosswalks. This first started bothering me at a deeper level when I saw people waiting for long periods of time down in Midtown at the crosswalk at Memphis Pizza Cafe. It is a crosswalk in an already slower speed limit area pedestrian zone. Just walk! But rightly so the people of Memphis fear for their lives, knowing they cannot trust a driver to see the crosswalk let alone stop.

Today we ran through a crosswalk on Wolf River Blvd connecting to Neshoba park. It is a busy road and I get why people do not want to stop. But as it is a big road they can see a pedestrian, even a runner, coming across the road quite easily with plenty of time to slow down. They are required by law to stop but grow ridiculously angry if said pedestrian insinuates they should stop as they drive by without even thinking of slowing down. I know because today I did more than insinuate such.

Anyway, enough of my ranting about the lack of knowledge or even compassion of drivers on the road. This is nothing new or in anyway a surprise to anyone who has been on the road, whether in a car or not. Maybe we could be the example when driving cars and begin following the law when we see people at crosswalks.

Oh and in case anyone is confused my use of the term crosswalk has been in reference to those that are not at lights, etc. Pedestrians, including myself, are expected to wait for the signal change. Below is the TN law on crosswalks if you're interested. It's pretty clear if you ask me. I know, you did not.

TCA 55-8-134 - Pedestrian's Right-of-Way in Crosswalks   (a)  (1) Unless in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.    (2) When in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver shall remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway on which the vehicle is stopped. (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. (c) Subsection (a) does not apply under the conditions stated in § 55-8-135(b). (d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.  - See more at:

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