You may be surprised to hear that there is a new invention gracing the streets and most suburban areas of modern America. It provides a safe and convenient alternative to riding your bike, walking, jogging, or skateboarding in the middle of the busy road. It’s a crazy little thing called a sidewalk! If you can’t figure out just how these magical sidewalks work, the name can you give some clues. SIDEWALK…meaning to WALK on the SIDE of the black pavement that sporadically has 4,000 pounds of steel flying 50mph down it.
This sidewalk lesson is one I feel needs to be shared with and beaten into the brains of local pedestrians. Don’t even get me started on cyclists. If anybody reading this is a street cyclist, I apologize, but you annoy the HELL out of me. Now, if there is no sidewalk, sure go ahead and ride on the street. I don’t expect you to ride in the grass or go off roading with your dainty, skinny tires. However when I am going 15mph in a 45mph zone and stuck behind a line of 20 cars because you think riding on the street is more fun than the sidewalk, I’m not okay with that. It takes everything within me to not “bump” your back tire. So far I have restrained myself, as a “bump” to me would be a projectiling cannonball-style journey through the air for you and your pretty bike.
This morning I encountered the most ridiculous, unsafe, and infuriating “traffic dodger” I have seen thus far. I was on my way to work going through a [busy] neighborhood with a lot of hills. As I came over the top of one of the larger hills, I was suddenly staring face to face with a woman walking her baby in a stroller, MUCH closer than I would prefer when I am behind the wheel of a car. I slammed my breaks on and stared at her in amazement as she sweetly smiled at me, acting like I hadn’t almost just run over her and her child. Thank God for a new car, quick reflexes, and reliable breaks. Now I normally pride myself on being a “nice driver.” I don’t flip people off, I don’t ever yell at them, and don’t make obscene gestures with my hands so they can see just how angry I am. This time was an exception. Without flipping her off, I let her have it (through the windows). I screamed the angry driver cliche “ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????????” and pointed at her baby stroller, then the middle of the road. She had no reaction whatsoever. She just continued to smile at me as if I were offering her a coupon for a free McDonald’s Happy Meal. This lady was not walking on the edge of the road, mind you. She was walking in the middle of the lane, completely oblivious to the fact that she was also walking up a hill so oncoming cars would have no way of seeing her.
My first thought after pulling away from the woman was “if I had been texting or looking at something on my phone, I absolutely would have killed her and that baby.” The whole incident left me shaky and upset, how can people be so stupid?! I kept repeating in my head. Not only was that mother putting herself in immense danger, but her innocent baby too.
SO if you are a person who regulary walks, runs, or bicycles on the road, PLEASE be aware of your surroundings. If it is a busy area, how about use the sidwalk and not put yourself and drivers in danger. If you are one of those people that texts while driving, PLEASE stop. Who knows, you may run into a woman who finds it perfectly normal to walk her baby uphill in the middle of a busy road.