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Jaywalking and me

I left the following comment at Cronaca's place in regards to this unfortunate fellow's experience:

Note to self: Atlanta may not be such a great place to move to after all. In Orlando (where I now live) it's actually safer to cross in the middle of the street than at the officially-designated crossing places at the intersections. Intersections here are usually a free-for-all, as you are allowed to make right turns against the red light, and drivers tend to keep going until the last possible minute (the "I swear the light was still yellow when I went through it officer" argument), and when the light turns green everyone starts off as if the gun at the Indy 500 had just fired. Then again, maybe they don't drive as if possessed by demons in Atlanta.

I can't count how many times I've been nearly run over at intersections while trying to cross while the "walk" signal was on, and never mind that the crosswalk signals here are all set to go red after about ten nanoseconds. That being said, they do have spasms of ticketting jaywalkers here, but usually they do that in downtown Orlando, one of the few places where you can cross at corners with less of a risk of being run over (in that area there are stricter traffic rules and slower speed limits -- and narrower streets, unlike the network of huge state roads and highways that cross the rest of the Greater Orlando area).

Comments (5)

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I was in Virginia Beach for a few months in 2002, and the first thing I noticed was how pedestrain hostile the place was, at least around the Military Circle area. Very few sidewalks, and many intersections had neither crosswalks nor pedestrian signals. Like you, I quickly determined that the best place to cross a street was the middle of the block, since they could only come at you from two directions and you could see them coming.

Another thing I noticed was that to take the bus from anyplace to anyplace else invariably took two hours and at least one transfer.

They really, really hate people who don't drive there. I'd lived in northern Virginia for three years in the late sixties and they weren't so foot-hostile up there.

Jim C. [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I was in England only once, in May 1976. In London, if you were at a crosswalk and just paused as if you MIGHT want to cross the street, traffic stopped.

I get the feeling that doesn't happen anymore.

Annalucia [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Jim, I was last in England at Easter of 2000, and while they don't stop so quickly anymore they are certainly politer and not out to gun you down (at least not in Yorkshire, where I was). On the other hand they've got that left-hand-drive thing going, so I invariably looked the *wrong* way before crossing and had a couple of close calls anyhow.

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Yep, whenever I spend a lot of time in Japan or Singapore or Oz, where they do that whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing, I have to make a conscious effort to look the correct direction on returning to the Good Ol' Yew Ess of Ay. It's subtle and I adapt to the left hand drive thing without effort, but coming back the other way is for some reason harder.

Maybe being left handed, I'm wired bass ackwards to begin with.

There are a few small towns in the US which are so pedestrian friendly that you could probably step blindly into the street anywhere and have autos slam on their brakes for you. But I never take anything for granted - there will be one each winner and loser in a me vs. car confrontation, and I already know which one I will get.

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