Delusional driving drama (from a walker’s POV)

Credit: joiseushowaa/Flickr.com

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only sane person on the entire planet. And sometimes, I think I may be. And that’s a scary, scary thought, oh faithful reader — truly it is.

Now, it’s not very often that I step out from behind the wheel — but I do every now and then, I promise you that. When I do, I treat the roads as I would if I were on them: with respect and courtesy.

The past few weeks I’ve spent a great deal of time in my city’s downtown core — packed in with every other 9-to-5er rushing to work and rushing home. And all that rushing has put me in some interesting situations on the road, despite my lack of a vehicle.

Pedestrians in my city think they own the road (much like bikers who I don’t even want to talk about as it makes me so mad). They have no consideration for drivers or the fact that they are traversing on vehicular territory. Sidewalks are for the people, streets are for the machines. Let’s all try and understand that. I know it’s hard to grasp at times, but I know we’re all intelligent (on some level) so we can figure it out.

And yet, despite this easy-to-grasp idea I still see people rushing out into vehicular territory and getting angry at drivers when they are almost hit, or cause a driver to honk or get upset. Um, you’re in his territory buddy!

If a car were to drive up on a sidewalk suddenly and block my way, I’d get pissed. And I’d have a right to get pissed. The driver of the car on the sidewalk would have no right to get angry at me for getting in his way (and if he did, he’d be a bit of a lunatic for doing so).

Basically, I’ve come to realize that no one has any respect for anyone at all in this city. Pedestrians couldn’t care less about cars, and cars couldn’t care less about pedestrians. We go through our days trying not to kill one another and that’s it.

And that makes me a bit angry. Pedestrians in the downtown core look at drivers with such vehemence, such hatred — and I know, because I drove downtown for a few years. They look at drivers as if they are the problem — as they run out in front of oncoming traffic because they can’t wait for the light to turn red to get across the street to Starbucks.

Why can’t we live in peace? Why is there such animosity between the two species?

Wether I’m walking or driving, I am always conscious of my surroundings and how my actions are going to affect those around me. I believe I am the only pedestrian ever in the history of Montreal pedestrians to let a car turn before I cross the street. I’m met with such mystified looks when I wave the car in front to go before the hoards of angry pedestrians behind me storm the street so he can’t turn.

And I do it because I know what it’s like to be on the other end.

And I think that’s where the problem lies. Just like bloody high-and-mighty bikers who think they own the road and cars are nothing but the devil’s transport, pedestrians get angry because they don’t know what it’s like.

There’s something to be said about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes (however big and stinky they are) and understanding where they’re coming from.

If you’re a pedestrian on a daily basis and you absolutely hate drivers, think about why you hate them. Do you really have a reason? Or are you just spiteful because you’ve never had a car and never experienced driving a vehicle in a tight, crowded, urban setting?

And if you’re a driver and you loathe downtown driving because of the inconsiderate and erratic pedestrians, why do you feel that way? Have you ever walked, on a daily basis, in a busy downtown setting? Do you know what it’s like to be out in the rain on a Monday morning trying to cross the street to get to work while passing cars splash dirty street water on to your nice, new red pumps?

Well, I do. And I don’t appreciate you not appreciating me — in either setting.

It’s time people took a moment to consider their surroundings, grow up a little and look at both ends of the spectrum.

Strap on that stranger’s shoe and engage the clutch; it’s time we all got along.

Drive on,
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on September 29, 2010.

4 Responses to “Delusional driving drama (from a walker’s POV)”

  1. Yo Miranda!

    Sad to say, but it’s not just Montreal. Philly (and New York, DC, Boston, etc) is just as bad. Everyone is trapped in their own little world and screw everybody else if you get in their way. I’m far from perfect (though I have improved with age), but I try my best to show some courtesy to those around me, because it’s the little things in life that will either (a) put a smile on your face, or (b) make you want to kill someone.

    When driving, observe the pedestrian crosswalks, let a car merge into an intersection when traffic is backed up and you’re not moving anyway.

    When walking, look behind you when entering a building to see if someone else is entering and hold the door for a few seconds rather then letting it close in their face, look both ways before crossing the street rather than just jumping into traffic and assuming that you have the right of way.

    When cycling, stay off the friggin sidewalk, stay to your right, ride in the direction of traffic, don’t make any sudden directional changes, and be aware of the cars that are coming up behind you.

    Thanks for letting me rant. 🙂

    Cheers!
    G-LO

    PS… I love this shirt and must have one: http://feedstore.muledesign.com/product/im-not-angry-im-from-philly

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joe Tiger, Miranda Lightstone. Miranda Lightstone said: Dillusional driving drama (from a walker's POV): http://wp.me/pRhjk-a9 […]

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