Monday, 22 October 2007

I don't understand.

Let me preface this by saying that pedestrians are allowed to cross the street at any point on the road; safe crossings are made available but people don't legally have to use them. Cars have to stop for pedestrians at all times, and they always have the right of way, regardless of their location in the road. That is my understanding of the law, anyway.

I live on a side road connecting to a very busy street. It is a main thoroughfare through the town, and it is three lanes, including the bus lane. There are safe crossing points scattered all down this main road, so you never have far to walk to reach one. And as far as I'm concerned, you really don't have an excuse to cross the road without using one. Pedestrians crossing the road unsafely is a real bugbear of mine.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving along, I noticed a woman and a little boy crossing the road about a 20 second walk away from a safe crossing point. Her son (I assume) was riding a bike with training wheels, no helmet, and rode faster than she was walking. He looks to be about four or five. He got quite a bit ahead of her, in the middle of the road, made it across to the bus lane, and then crashed into the curb, falling off of his bike. I was horrified to witness this, grumbled to myself and forgot about it.

Last week, I saw this same woman with her son (on the bike, no helmet) crossing the road unsafely, this time I was on foot and walked right next to her until she crossed the road. There were many more cars on the road, and she had to flag them to stop in order to cross. The crosswalk was literally 50 meters away or less.

I probably would never say anything to her, because I think it's pretty obvious that she's making a conscious decision to disregard safety guidelines for both pedestrians and child bikers. But it still makes me cringe, and rant privately in the confines of my car.

Lots of people do this on my street, but this incident of mother and child-on-bike in particular really upsets me. Why wouldn't you take an extra minute to walk to a crosswalk, press the button, wait for the light to change, and cross in safety? I don't understand.

Are there any circumstances where you would say something to a stranger regarding her parenting choices? I couldn't imagine any comment I would make that she would react kindly to, but I hate to see this kid crossing the road so recklessly.


Lulu said...

No, unfortunately there's nothing you can do. If you say anything, chances are she'll react badly.

Perhaps if someday you're walking with your children and you run into this woman, you can say something like 'We'll cross the street at the crossing point. You should always cross the street where it's safe' as if you were teaching them "street manners", audibly enough for her to hear. Passive aggressive? Maybe, but next time she's crossing the street she may think twice before disregarding the crossing points.

RubyTuesday said...

I imagine the kind of person who would allow their child to cross the street that way really wouldn't care to hear about it from other people, sadly.

Oh and I enjoyed your HP lost chapter! I don't even read the HP books, but still liked it. You write very well.You should do a book of your own :-)

RaisinCookies said...

Thanks, Ruby! I'm doing NaBloPoMo this year, maybe next year I'll be brave enough to start a novel. :)

Lulu, passive aggressive seems to be the way to go. I'll try it if I see her again.