Last week I tweeted these messages:
You know what’s a good way to ruin my day but yours more? Jaywalk across Holcomb Bridge Road at night in the rain during rush hour. January 17, 2013
No, I did not strike the elderly man, but I nearly did. January 17, 2013
I am all about giving pedestrians the right of way, but if I do not see you, that will be a wonderful epitaph on your tombstone. January 17, 2013
It’s hard to express emotions such as terror, horror, dread, or anxiety in tweets. Hashtags don’t quite carry it. Also, that series of messages was intended more as a public service message than a shout out about my mental state of being. Nevertheless, I was freaked out by this incident because the man walking across the road1 was wearing dark colors and I absolutely didn’t see him until it was almost too late. Without braking hard, my night would have been a bit more exciting than just driving home and his would have been a lot more hospitalized.2
While I don’t lay blame on the guy entirely, I still question his decision making. It’s one thing to have a legal expectation that traffic will stop, it’s an entirely different thing for that traffic to actually stop. As my father used to tell me before we crossed the road, “You can be right, and you can be dead right.” I never trust that drivers will stop when I’m running or biking and in America’s driving culture, this is just being smart. The fact that this pedestrian didn’t even look at me—didn’t seem to care that he came mere seconds from an extended hospital stay, or death—boggles my feet.
Unfortunately this caused some trauma on my end because of a situation that has just been resolved, but I haven’t blogged about due to pending legal settlements: Last May, on the way home from work, I struck a child with my car. It wasn’t my fault, but I still see his body being flung 100 fee down the road and flopping around. Thankfully, he was not killed, although he was seriously injured and spent several weeks in the hospital (I’m told).3 It took weeks before I stopped flinching whenever it even looked like a person would step into traffic.
So the lessons to be learned from these situations are several: Look before you cross the street; Don’t hit kids with your car; Don’t be a kid and get hit by cars.
Update: After rereading the post, I realized I was a bit unclear. The legal stuff is settled, as of last week. That’s why I’m comfortable posting about this now. It was a long time question about whether this incident would go to trial over a really stupid amount of money.
- Holcomb Bridge Road is a six-lane divided roadway in Roswell, GA [↩]
- I estimate I would have hit him at about 30 MPH. You can read the study for the statistics. [↩]
- For an illustration of what immediate injury and shock can do to a person, I present the case of the nine-year-old boy who after having his left femur cleanly snapped by a speeding car, stood up and tried to walk away. [↩]