The other day I was perambulating along the street, minding my own business, and I strolled up to a crosswalk. A vehicle was at least half a car length over the “stop line” where, technically, one is supposed to stop one’s car, so I stepped out in front of the car to cross the intersection, and, upon reflection, indiscreetly saluted the driver with the classic hands spread out and “what the fuck” tilt of the head, as in “wow, thanks for creating a situation where I am basically performing an unsafe act and walking out into the street in order to get around you and your stupid car you couldn’t be bothered to stop correctly, and also don’t think I’m not noticing you inching your car forward a li’l bit at a time anticipating the light turning green or just trying to get a leg up on oncoming traffic for an otherwise legal right-on-red but excuse me, I’m fuckin’ walkin’ here.”
Also for whatever reason, I didn’t stop there, I decided to verbally engage the person who had their foot resting on the brake pedal of a machine, which, under the control of a less stable individual could easily have spelled my doom. “The fuck? It’s a red light! D’ya mind?”
The driver responded with some blahblah, pointed to the light, (which probably was green by that point), and I said, “Whatever, the pedestrian has the right of way.”
Here is a quotable from some legal stuff I found at the Universal Resource Locator address (http://www.sha.maryland.gov/OOTS/DriverPedestrianSafety.pdf )
21-502(a)2 Failure to stop for pedestrian in crosswalk
Driver of a vehicle shall come to a complete stop when a pedestrian crossing the roadway in a crosswalk is: (i) on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or (ii) approaching from an adjacent lane on the other half of the roadway. Penalty: $80 or up to $500.00. One Point.
The pedestrian has the right of way, OK? Even when they are standing in front of your car and the light is green. You do not get to proceed. I know, it’s terrible, and I get pissed when I’m on the other side of the coin driving around minding my own business and some bovine so-and-so wanders out into the middle of the street, nowhere near a crosswalk, nowhere near any kinda legal traffic light indicating they are in the act of legally and rightfully occupying space in the middle of the goddamn road.
Seriously, I was likely in Violation of one or all of these, probably:
21-202(l) Failure to obey red traffic signal
Pedestrian facing a steady red traffic signal alone may not enter the roadway. Penalty: $80 or up to $500.00.
21-203(c) Failure to obey pedestrian control signal
Pedestrian may not start to cross the roadway in the direction of a solid “don’t walk” or “upraised hand” signal. Penalty: $40 or up to $500.00.
21-503(a) Failure to yield right-of-way to vehicle
If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle. Penalty: $40 or up to $500.00.
But at the same time, my enemy at the crosswalk was also probably doing one of these naughties:
21-202(h) Failure to stop at clearly marked stop line
Vehicles facing a steady circular red signal or red arrow signal shall stop at the near side of the intersection at a clearly marked stop line, or before entering the crosswalk. Penalty: $140 or up to $500.00. Two Points.
21-202(k) Failure to yield to pedestrian before turn on red
Vehicles facing a red signal shall, after stopping, yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk.
And again, it’s not a contest, but I win, because the way it’s supposed to be is that nobody gets to run over a pedestrian just because they are out in the street like a dope. I like to think it’s because in America, and please to hang on to your hat while I blow your mind, but here in Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, human life is more important than property. I haz Human Life!
There’s a lotta stuff going on out there that shows you there are people who don’t agree with this idea, of humans being worth more than property. Most of it involves people with guns, who get to shoot people, and I’m not in favor of any of this, it’s stupid, people behaving like that with guns, and I’m telling you, this thought process goes right along with people riding around in cars thinking they can run people over just because they are in their car with someplace important to go, and there’s somebody standing in their way, and that person standing out in the road, sometimes sorta daring some motorist to even just honk at ’em—I’ve seen that too, people who apparently have so few options in life they crave the opportunity for confrontation so they can vent some rage—that person, no matter how obnoxious they are and how important you are, is still worth more than your car and your time, even if you are delivering a pizza to my house. Thank you.