Street smarts

I often vent (offline) about living in a pedestrian-hating city. I think it’s horrible. Some of the roads are full of potholes, mud puddles, slippery plastic bags mingled with garbage, and are just plain un-walkable. Then there’re vehicles and senseless drivers who almost brush against you when you walk. Oh, and on an average day, you’d hear at least fifty different honking frequencies over the course of a five-minute walk.

It’s horrible. That’s why few people walk and advocate for walking as a way of commute. Apart from the mental and the noise pollution, you’d also have air pollution and nostril violation.

As you can see, I love ranting about the street conditions in my area.

A couple of days ago, however, I saw something that put a different perspective in light. A group of women walked with absolute disregard for the vehicles whizzing by them. As a regular walker myself, I make sure I don’t get in the motorists’ way, even by accident. I’d walk on uneven rocks on the side of the road just to avoid the speeding drivers.

These women, though, cared not one bit. They waved their arms in the air talking while they waited to cross the busy highway (freeway) on which trucks cruise every day. Though obvious, they were distracting the driver sending all kinds of mixed signals. Drivers can’t brake at whim, and when someone puts their hand out, it seems to them as if that pedestrian would jump onto the moving vehicle.

I learnt this during my front-seat rides while my brother drove. He’d often swear at pedestrians who run into the street without warning. Though they’re often confident that they can cross the street without getting hit, it always scares the person behind the wheel.

When I saw the women do the same, I wondered how wrong I am to blame only the motorists. We pedestrians aren’t any better.

We need more stringent road rules and decent infrastructure.

Side note and moment of epiphany: From complaining about the masses I’ve begun complain about the authority. How mature of me.

P.S: I describe my observations of the city I live in. I’m aware that it isn’t the same everywhere else. I’ve walked through so many streets in California dropping my jaw at the street sense there. (Portland, I’m looking at you.)

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