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Reader: Why I don’t always stop for people waiting to cross the street

Posted by on December 13th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Crosswalks in action-1

Scared to stop.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A reader sent us a note recently about a traffic situation that I feel could use more community awareness and discussion. It has to do with stopping for people who are waiting to walk across the street. Oregon law (ORS 811.028) clearly states that if you see a person waiting to cross an intersection at a corner, and you’re able to do so in time, you must stop and let them cross. (UPDATE: To clarify, the law says you must only stop if the person extends their body/bike/cane/stroller into the intersection.)

But what if you’re on your bike and you’re afraid that people behind you in cars (or on bikes for that matter) might not stop and that they’d run into you? That’s a sensation I can relate to. It’s also one that reader Chris S. felt compelled to email us about. Here’s what he wrote:

“I wanted to discuss a situation where the cyclist is definitely in the wrong, but it is better to be wrong than getting rear ended by a car.

Traveling north on Naito coming into downtown just south of Market Street there is a crosswalk (map). About a year ago, I was approaching said crosswalk on my bicycle going the same speed as traffic (about 20-25mph) and a pedestrian wanted to cross. I braked to let them and heard the screeching of tires behind me as a car came within about a foot of rear ending me.

I then decided I would never do that again (even though the law requires me to stop) as I figure I am better off with a ticket than dead.

Well this morning I had the same thing happen except it was up on Barbur where it turns off to Naito and the Ross Island Bridge (map). The woman in the crosswalk yelled at me for not stopping (and I don’t blame her) but with cars immediately behind me (I was in the traffic lane as the bike lane ends at this point) there was no way I was going to risk being rear ended.

I just wish pedestrians understood that bikes don’t have brake lights and I wouldn’t trust a hand signal in this particular situation to properly communicate to a driver behind that I am stopping quickly and they need to as well.

I suppose one day I will get a ticket for this decision, but better a ticket than losing my life.

– Chris

I can definitely relate to your quandary Chris. I always try to set a good example and stop for people waiting to cross the street in front of me, even knowing that my actions might be ignored and/or might make people behind me stop abruptly (I’ve also, unfortunately, had people on bikes fly by me on several occasions). When I’m in a bike lane it’s one thing; but the fear of making sure people in cars stop behind me while in a shared lane is even scarier. I try to be as demonstrative with my hand signals and other gestures prior to the stop, but I realize that might not always do the trick. So, sometimes I don’t stop when I probably, legally, should.

To me, this is yet another example of how people on bikes get a bad rap because they’re trying to get around in a transportation and legal system that wasn’t designed for the operation of a bicycle.

What do you think? Do you have any advice or insight for Chris?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Nick
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Nick

Interesting timing. Busch & Müller just came out with a dynamo rear light that functions like a car’s brake lights: it gets brighter when you hit the brakes. Pretty cool. Clever Cycles stocks their products.

http://www.bumm.de/produkte/dynamo-ruecklicht/toplight-line-plus.html

Tony
Guest
Tony

I have a few thoughts on this:

Since cyclists are usually closer to the curb side, it is a bit harder to calculate when a cyclist and pedestrian will come into conflict when the pedestrian will cross.

Many pedestrians will not cross even if the cyclist is slowing or stopping for them. Similar to the drivers who insist that you go first when they have the right-of-way.

The law says a vehicle needs to stop when a pedestrian is in the lane or an adjacent lane. Never mind that this is a rarely followed rule by either cyclists or motorists, I have often wondered how this makes sense at all for cyclists at a “reasonable” speed. If i am turning right, or crossing a street in an adjacent lane, there’s really no chance that I’m going to hit a pedestrian. This is generally the viewpoint of pedestrians as well who seem to have no problem crossing against the light when the only through traffic are cyclists.

Finally, there is one place in town where I think we need to do better as cyclists. The bus stop on the Hawthorne bridge is a location where I regularly see cyclists fail to stop for passengers getting on and off the bus. I have seen people miss the bus because no one would stop long enough for them to cross the bike path. I see passengers leaving the bus with actual fear in their eyes thanks to the “yellow jacket sprint” mentality that dominates on the westbound approach to the bridge.

I think this reflects badly on all of us and I’m surprised I’ve never seen an injury there.

Shetha
Guest
Shetha

Oh and let’s not forget how easy it is to emergency brake and signal at the same time. I feel this guy… ticket is definitely less expensive than being injured or worse.

Mark Allyn
Guest

This happens to me on Salmon. It’s taught me to look as far ahead as possible for pedestrians getting ready to cross and using hand signals as much as possible.

Still, sometimes someone will dart out and I have to make a quick decision. Fortunately, in most of the places that I would have gotten into trouble, there is enough of a shoulder and/or I ride slow enough so that I can jump the sidewalk and jam the brakes.

There are some cross streets where there is almost guaranteed to be pedestrians waiting (Park blocks during an evening theater performance or museum hours) where I just slow way down ahead of the intersection and force the cars to wait behind me.

All I got so far were a few raised middle fingers 🙁

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

If the car hits you then it was following too close and is the car’s fault. If you hit the pedestrian, then it’s your fault. If you’re too pussy to take a hit don’t ride your bike.

Shetha
Guest
Shetha

Also, 75% of the time I *do* stop for a pedestrian… they just sit there *blink blink* and stare. I usually have to tell them to go ahead… once in a while they refuse and insist I go on ahead. Awkward.

Ted
Guest
Ted

I treat this situation the same either in a car or on a bike. If I have to make a dramatic effort to stop for a pedestrian I will roll through the cross walk. As someone else said, keeping your head up so you can anticipate pedestrian crossings is part of being out on the road but you can’t always see everything. I do not expect perfection out of myself or others.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“..Traveling north on Naito coming into downtown just south of Market Street there is a crosswalk (map). About a year ago, I was approaching said crosswalk on my bicycle going the same speed as traffic (about 20-25mph) and a pedestrian wanted to cross. I braked to let them and heard the screeching of tires behind me as a car came within about a foot of rear ending me. …? Chris S

A question I would have for Chris, is whether in the situation he describes above, he had time and distance from the person wanting to stop, to attempt to signal for a stop. Traveling 20-25, a person probably could use a full 100′ to try get the message across to people approaching from the rear, that a stop by the road user ahead was intended.

If the hand signal for a stop message wasn’t getting across…there was no indication traffic from behind was responding by reducing speed, it wouldn’t be safe to stop.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Another way to look at it–and a judge might agree–is that maybe a bike stopping unexpectedly in front of an auto always constitutes “an immediate hazard,” thereby releasing the rider of the bike from having to stop.

If not, then I don’t know. I may be straddling the line here between academic and practical, but…

Sometimes in traffic (car, bike, or other) I must stop suddenly, because the unexpected arises: another road user in front of me stops suddenly; a car/dog/kid darts out from the side; etc., etc. This is a normal part of using the roadway. and it’s why the law mandates safe following distances.

If I believe that I cannot stop both suddenly and safely when on a bike–in other words, if I don’t think I’m likely to survive normal roadway conditions when sharing the lane–then should I be sharing the lane with autos in the first place?

If I fail to stop for the person waiting to cross, am I setting the dangerous precedent for those behind me (in autos) to follow, and thereby increasing the danger of the situation?

I’ve been hit in traffic by cars several times, both when walking and when riding, and in no case was it ever because I was at fault or was doing something particularly risky–I was just there crossing or using the road, and the operator of the offending auto–in every case–failed to pay adequate attention. I’ve been lucky not to be seriously hurt.

My point is, there’s risk in using the road. I don’t feel comfortable with that as a reason to dismiss the rules of the road. However, I’d love it if the rules exempted me from stopping under these conditions–maybe we’ll never know until it’s tested in court.

Scott
Guest
Scott

I’m with Sunny in all but word choice. Are you going to stop working because you might get fired?

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

I regularly drive through both of these crosswalks in the months when I don’t commute by bike. Both are awkward in placement. The one on Barbur sits at a right hand curve and folks in the right lane are bustin’ down to get to the Ross Island Bridge, exceeding the speed limit. The other crosswalk is where pedestrians are trying to get to PSU, etc. Visibility at both sucks and most people don’t anticipate having to stop at all. When riding, if I feel safe to stop, I will. But frankly, even whenever I stop in a car I fear getting rear-ended regardless, at either crossing.

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

If we advocate for breaking pedestrian stop rules, then motorcyclists, who are also vulnerable to cars, should not stop either.

Rol
Guest
Rol

I think the law says you have to stop only when someone actually steps out into the crosswalk, not when they’re on the sidewalk. Unless it has changed recently. So if you stop before they step out, that’s a courtesy. If you don’t want to, no guilt-trip. But slowing down before they step out might help avoid an emergency stop and a rear-ending.

Rol
Guest
Rol

Also worthy of special note: if there’s a bike lane, this problem goes away entirely.

whyat
Guest
whyat

When I’m on NE 21rst I never see any cars or cyclists stopping for pedestrians (and there are a lot). I always do my best (but am not perfect) to stop and wave them through. It’s pretty easy, doesn’t take much time, and I almost always get a smile or laugh and a ‘Thank you’.

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

When I’m a pedestrian I won’t step towards the curb if I see a bike coming.

dr2chase
Guest
dr2chase

Once upon a time I drove a ratty old Ford Taurus wagon, with the center high brakelight. It got to the stage where we knew we had a replacement lined up (family purchase). I decided that I *would* *not* *care* what was behind me; if I saw a pedestrian with a foot in the crosswalk, I would stop if at all possible. I was rear-ended twice. From this, I conclude that no hand signal is sufficient, that no “great new bike light” short of a death ray is sufficient. These drivers didn’t see the rear end of a full-sized station wagon.

So what do I do when there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk? I pull out of traffic and stop. I *expect* that the traffic will not stop, and I am right more than half the time. I use this to accumulate smugness points — as long as more cars run crosswalks than I run lights and stops, I figure I am ahead.

All this talk about taking hits and toughening up is BS. Getting hit by a car hurts.

w
Guest
w

presumed liability would change how a majority of vehicular traffic behaves in this country. “safe operation” would take on a new meaning

Spiffy
Guest

I’ve stopped towards the right side of the road to let somebody cross the street… the cars kept going by as if nothing happened… I started moving further and further into the lane to try to get them to pay attention… the continued to fly by and honked… after a couple minutes all the traffic was gone and the pedestrians and I all shared a sarcastic laugh and we shrugged it off…

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

I really appreciate the crosswalk situation in Portland (having come from Chicago where people in cars rarely stop…but Chicago also has many more stop lights and stop signs, so it’s a bit different). As a pedestrian, I wait a couple yards from the curb if I see a lot of cars coming fast or a bike coming and wait for a bit of an opening. I never step out into the street unless I see the car(s) actually slowing down; I also try to make eye-contact, thanking them with a wave.

Once, while crossing Powell where there wasn’t a crosswalk, I was doing it Chicago style and planned on waiting in the middle turn-lane section for a group of cars to go by, but two lanes of cars stopped for me. I was amazed and stunned, and I waved profusely.

Andy
Guest
Andy

As a pedestrian, I try not to put cyclists in this position by waiting before crossing in a situation like the one described. However, I am really tired of cyclists riding at high speed with no cars behind them and cussing at you if you try to cross in a crosswalk because they don’t think they should have to slow.

Hart Noecker
Guest

I’ve often noticed then when riding, if I slow to a stop to let pedestrians pass, cars behind me will just keep on going. But when I started using my left hand to signal that I was stopping, drivers become far more likely to take notice of why I’m signaling, and then recognize it is also their duty to stop. Works about 90% of the time.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Honestly, this situation rarely comes up for me. Maybe because most places I ride where there are heavily used crosswalks, I’m in a bike lane anyway.

But in the rare event when there were a pedestrian about to cross and there were a motor vehicle bearing down on my in my lane, you’d better bet I’d keep going. As has been pointed out, I’m a lot less of a danger to a pedestrian than a car is to me.

I suspect the tough-talkers on this thread have never actually been rear ended. Well, I *have* been rear ended. Twice. In a car. And each time it effed me up for months, preventing me from riding a bike for a considerable amount of time.

I should add that in one of those instances it was because I had stopped for a pedestrian, and the next driver — far behind me, and who was apparently reading or something — plowed into me at 30+mph. So while I am far better at stopping for pedestrians than most people, I’m NOT going to do it if it isn’t safe to do so (unless, of course, the pedestrian is already crossing and would genuinely be in imminent danger by my failing to stop).

The other factor not really being discussed much here is that in almost all situations like this, the pedestrian isn’t going to cross ANYWAY unless he/she is sure I’m going to stop. So while I’ve created an inconvenience for the pedestrian, I haven’t put him/her in any immediate danger.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I was pulled over near salmon fountain for shooting a gap since cars run reds on naito and peds jump out.. knew what need to be done to be safe.
ticket 260 bucks unfriendly police man, but lowered to 130 with court and a chat.

ride on,
Joe

spencer
Guest
spencer

how about we all just agree to pay the ____k attention to whats going on and just merge as they all do in Rome. I’ve never felt safer on the streets than in Rome. Peds, Bikes, and Cars just agree not to hit each other as they lose their priviledge to drive

Paul Souders
Guest
Paul Souders

“Well this morning I had the same thing happen except it was up on Barbur where it turns off to Naito and the Ross Island Bridge (map). The woman in the crosswalk yelled at me for not stopping (and I don’t blame her) but with cars immediately behind me (I was in the traffic lane as the bike lane ends at this point) there was no way I was going to risk being rear ended”

I know this intersection well and it is a dreadful crosswalk for everyone. Pedestrians are expected to step off the curb in front of traffic often moving faster tha 45mph.

Once (while driving) I witnessed a rear-end here where the first car stopped for the crosswalk and the car behind didn’t.

The bike lane continuing NB on Barbur past the split is expected to enter onto the sidewalk where I guess you’re supposed to walk your bike across the Naito/RI split (see the map link above for a photo). I tried this exactly ONE TIME. Car in the right hand lane stopped but the one in the left hand lane didn’t. Scary.

So for the last decade I take the lane through here — in front of cars moving 30-45mph or faster. Drivers will sometimes get their grills mere feet away from my wheel. Whee!

Joe
Guest
Joe

gotta take the lane regardless sometimes, cars just need to know sharing is good

sabes
Guest
sabes

I love to read the great lengths that cyclists will go to in order to excuse themselves from obeying the law.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

The law says a pedestrian is crossing “when any part or extension of the pedestrian, including but not limited to any part of the pedestrians body, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle, moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed.”

This is how I signal my intent to cross to cars when I am walking. Step off the curb.

And that behavior is also what I expect from pedestrians when crossing.

Standing 2 feet back from the curb giving me an exasperated look is not asserting that you intend to cross. Neither is standing there with a stroller, head down, texting. Neither is standing behind a parked car with only the top corner of your head and one eye sticking out.

I can’t know your intent unless you signal it. How to signal it seems pretty well defined in the law.

Bryce P
Guest
Bryce P

the closest I have come as a pedestrian in NZ was when I had my 4 mth old son in a stroller. 3 cars stopped, started to step out and then a, shall we say, sports cyclist went right up the inside of the parked cars at 20 odd mph and missed the stroller by inches. I’m a cyclist and damn I was angry!

cycler
Guest

I always do a shoulder check before stopping at either a ped crossing or a yellow light- I haven’t had a bad scare at a pedXing, but I was almost hit by someone gunning to make a yellow light- They swerved around me (missing me by inches) and blew through the red light at probably 30MPH.
Another fear is that one car will stop and another will try to swerve around it, hitting me, and/or the pedestrian.

I’m pretty anal about stopping for peds, because I am one when I’m not on my bike, but there are the infrequent occasions where I just can’t stop safely, and I always try to say “sorry” as I pass.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

If we ticketed drivers for this offense, we could pave the city in gold. I counted violations of this one day during a run (most of which took place on the esplanade) and counted 117 violations in 55 minutes.

Carl
Guest
Carl

93 comments and nobody’s pointed out that you’ve got the wrong crosswalk shown in that streetview map? I’m assuming he meant this unsignalized crosswalk: http://goo.gl/maps/iJFdd

Stopping for a green light would definitely be a recipe for being rear-ended.

Nat
Guest
Nat

It’s my understanding that you are not required to stop if the pedestrians are at a controlled crosswalk such as Naito and Market. Am I mistaken?

I’ve been in the same situation at Barbur and Naito a few times as there are frequently pedestrians there. If you’re in the right lane it’s pretty easy to get back into the bike lane and stop before the cross walk. I used to shift over one more lane to the center when traffic allows but don’t anymore for this reason.

Zaphod
Guest

This problem is complex.
Pedestrians often wait for a large gap in traffic and will not walk out when they have a small gap which requires traffic to stop. This is true because it’s dangerous for them to do so because the law is either misunderstood or ignored by *some* but not all motorists and cyclists.

There are other cases where bus stops and other possibilities as to where the pedestrian might go. So working out their intent and desire approaches impossible.

And combine this with motorists who, on average, blow through this situation more often than not.

This shouldn’t be complex but it is. Sure you can say, “Just stop” but really? I mean I could go on a bender where I stop every time and some cars stop, some don’t. Maybe my actions will lead them to start walking only to have them hit/killed by the driver in the next lane or the one beyond that.

I don’t want a candlelight vigil for me nor do I want to be the cause of someone else’s hardship. So yeah, right-o, call me a pussy…whatev… but safety trumps law every time.

I’ll donate my hard earned money to support an education campaign because culture change is needed.

All of this said, I do stop when more often than not. But there are times where ambiguity makes rolling the best call.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Carter Kennedy
That is what I thought. And yet I had the experience just the other day of waiting on the curb to cross and a cop stopped to let me cross. So at least some cops think you should stop if the pedestrian is not actually in the street.

And we also have the editor of this blog misquoting the law in his opening paragraph. Perhaps Jonathan could fix that?

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

SCAREDY CATS!!!!!!!!

peter haas
Guest
peter haas

One reason I enjoy commuting by bike is the connection I feel with my surroundings…the environment, my fellow cyclists, pedestrians, etc. I’m old and slow but I think if you’re traveling too fast to stop for someone…well, you’re traveling too fast.

chasingbackon
Guest
chasingbackon

I try to obey the laws as much as possible, ie stopping when indicated, (sign or light), keep the low speed idaho stops to quiet streets with no traffic and often wave cars through when at intersections.

That said, my personal safety will ALWAYS trump other actions. Not to say I’m planning on running crosswalks, but I will if I feel my safety is threatened, I will protect myself. I see no other option.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

The first time you come to a poorly designed intersection maybe it sneaks up on you, but if you pass it every day–sit up before the spot and get your hands on the levers. I am not the biggest fan of bike lanes but if you use one it’s a good place to practice civility.

I don’t expect anybody to take a hit from a car for the sake of courtesy. But even a little body language should shut down an aggro biker. No matter how bad you feel about the cycling public, mostly they will try to avoid collision just from self interest. Those who shoot the gap can eat fender, sooner or later.

Situations vary and you have to trust your gut. I’ve stopped for lots of people who had no legal right (to my knowledge) to cross at the place and time, but got out there anyway. The baby stroller at a ‘don’t walk’ signal is always good.

Hand signals are good but don’t bet your life on it. My left turn signal, arm straight out, works about half the time. The other times it apparently signals ‘please pass me at speed in the other lane.’ Gotta love that. If there’s a noisy person behind you hold your line and look for a place to slip out.

The best advice for the safe and courteous cyclist–leave 3 minutes early.

jim
Guest
jim

It is usually a safe bet that when you are driving a car and do stop for a ped at a cross walk, that the bike coming up behind you will not stop. It is usually the ped that has to stop for the bike blasting through. I see this all the time next to Lincoln High school in the mornings when there are big groups of kids crossing and the bike has good momentum going downhill and is willing to cut his way through a bunch of people with out even slowing down. He has little chance of being rear ended as he is to the far right. I myself have been rear ended a couple of times stopping at crosswalks in my car, so I understand the concern if you are out in the traffic lane, you might get injured if you do stop. If you do stop I would only suggest that you get to the right as far as you can.
I understand the people on this forum represent the more responsible riders and I don’t want to point fingers at any of you. If you aren’t concerned about safety you wouldn’t be on this forum at all.
Ride safe, I don’t want to hear about you on the 6 o’clock news.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Pete
I would think that for the same speed it would take a bicycle longer to stop than a car. The contact patches (tires + pads) on a bicycle are MUCH smaller than even the smallest car and it’s the forces of friction that stop both vehicles. Plus most cars today have anti-lock brakes, and it takes some experience/skill to stop a bicycle abruptly without skidding the rear tire.
Recommended 0

I think the stopping distances for each depend upon way more variables than just contact patches and brakes, especially given the vast differences in weight between the two and subsequently the even greater difference in their momentum. I wouldn’t at first thought be willing to make any assumption about which could stop before the other.

Charles Ross
Guest
Charles Ross

I don’t see in the section of Oregon law cited by Maus that drivers have any obligation to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross. Indeed, a driver stopping for pedestrians whom he thinks are waiting to cross might be guilty of obstructing traffic.

sabes
Guest
sabes

Could you imagine the outrage from this site if this article was written about how a driver of a car didn’t stop for pedestrians because they were scared that the car behind them was going to hit them?

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

dr2chase
The reason we expect the most from drivers, some from cyclists, and very little from pedestrians, is that responsibility should scale with the danger introduced. A head-on collision of two pedestrians is very low-energy; pedestrians aren’t very dangerous. Add a bicycle, and you add danger. The pedestrian is also dangerous to the bicycle, but the root cause of the danger is the speed of the bicycle; without that energy, no danger.
And a car is far and away the most dangerous of the three; statistically, about 15 times more likely to kill a pedestrian than a bicycle. So drivers should make the greatest accommodation and bear the most responsibility.
Recommended 0

Yeah, I understand what you state here, so I apologize that I meant the question as rhetoric. I appreciate the effort you exert to explain things, though.

Given that energy consumption is as prevalent an issue as it is, and that automobiles starting and stopping require much more energy (and often energy we derived from environmentally and socially destructive practices) than does the same motion on bicycles or feet, I would prefer a system that keeps automobiles smoothly moving in small groups, and thus one where we as pedestrians and cyclists can gladly wait for them to pass, or even more a system that keeps all modes moving smoothly thanks to separated infrastructure. I recognize such an ideal may be lofty and never come to fruition, but more than that one I prefer automobiles just don’t be used, nobody kills each other, nobody uses past statistics to make predictions, nobody insults each other, and everybody treats each other nicely, so I’m used to lofty ideals.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Considering that not one CYCLIST can provide an example of being hit from behind while stopping for a pedestrian, I stand by my description of this fear as irrational (e.g. being of low probability and/or not based on evidence). I have screeched to a halt hundreds of times in traffic and have never been hit from behind.

You sir are an n = 1. Do I really need to bring up the incident of the fellow whose LOADED child trailer was “rear-ended” last week? And that was ALREADY stopped at a Light, where the car should know to stop. To say that it is completely irrational that a rear-ending could happen in the open street at a crosswalk, when we all know that not every car stops for pedestrians is ridiculous. It could happen (in the exact same way that this guy’s kid was almost killed).

I fail to see any difference between being rearended stopping at a light and for a pedestrian, other than it is more dangerous to be stopping for a pedestrian, as there is no red traffic light, and your bike doesn’t have brake lights.

are
Guest

i wonder if it would be possible to have a discussion on these boards about the question that has been put to us in the blog post, i.e.,

under what circumstances, if any, might it be okay to not stop for a pedestrian who either is or is not exercising good judgment in making her attempt to cross,

without getting into a bunch of name calling

Vance Longwell
Guest

I’m now pretty multi-modal. I have a big truck, a motorcycle, and my feet. Swore off bikes, well, primarily because of you people. Ahem. Suffice it to say though that I feel fairly able to speak to issues from that perspective, as well.

The situation described in the letter is one I am in, constantly. That is, feeling compelled to stop for a pedestrian, yet also feeling like it will get me pasted. Doesn’t matter what mode I’m in/on. The problem is the way the law has been changed to inconvenience automobile drivers. Dropping paint everywhere, and calling every intersection a cross-walk, is simply asinine. Roads are for cars, and motorcycles.

To change that will take decades. Baby wants it now, though, and now baby sits around trying to figure out why baby ain’t got no milk.

Answer: Dropping cross-walks everywhere, then empowering ordinary people with the ability to control hundreds of strangers, in one whump, is a capitally bad idea.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

And driving a car makes one a superior being.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

On the flip side of things, when it is safe to do so, I make a big point of stopping for pedestrians – and even a bit of show of how cars disregard this responsibility.

Happened this morning while approaching the Hawthorne bridge, at about SE 8th or so. Pedestrian standing very clearly waiting to cross, I stop on my bike, 100 cars drive by, none considering stopping. I’d love to say this is a rare anecdote, but it is the norm.