To Yield or Not To Yield? That Is The Question


The sign to the right here is symbolic of everything that is wrong with the United States. Yes, that’s right, everything. “State Law: Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk.” Is this in anyone elses state? These signs started popping up in New York about two years ago. At first I thought they were just a small town thing. You know, those little towns without a stoplight and just one general store that is as much a social center as a place to shop for essentials. I can see these signs in towns where life moves slower and a motorist is just as apt to stop their vehicle to chat with a pedestrian about Edith’s gout and the weather.

I would be fine if these little traffic impediments limited themselves to towns where Amish buggies share the road with cars, but that’s not the case. Like an ivy that seems harmless at first, these laws and signs have crept into my city and town and are choking traffic. I can hardly finish a text without a half dozen stops and starts for people who suddenly believe that their soft, fleshy 150 lbs. are suddenly impervious to the might of my 3000 lb. death mobile hurtling towards them at 40 mph.

Don’t get me wrong, in general I’m not in favor of running down pedestrians with my car, but let’s have some common sense. This is a dangerous law. “But Phil,” you say, “how is it dangerous? It seems like it is meant to protect people.” Yes, it is meant to protect people, but from what? From their own stupidity. Why should we train people that it’s OK to step off the curb without looking? Without consequence?

Now, children will grow up believing that it’s just fine to run into a road. People don’t need to get more comfortable with traffic, but less comfortable. With drivers busy eating, talking on cell phones, texting, and watching their GPS for the next turn pedestrians need to be on their toes constantly regardless of what the streeet sign says. This law goes against Darwin’s evolutionary theory. It used to be that only the strong and smartest survived to procreate. Now with laws like this that protect the stupid people, everyone gets to survive and procreate! Do we really need more people who aren’t smart enough to yield to a speeding car? I imagine years from now we will need to invent hover cars because our Earthbound roads will just be clogged with dolts crossing the street all day just because they can.

10 responses to “To Yield or Not To Yield? That Is The Question

  1. Is that what the sign means, though? That pedestrians should just walk right into the street without looking?! If a person is already IN the crosswalk then the car should yield to the person. Seems fair to me!! 🙂

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  2. Well, people walk into the street without looking with or without a sign to protect them. All I can think when I see this is, “didn't anyone teach them not to cross the road without looking both ways?”

    My Mom would be so proud.

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  3. I've noticed that in the States pedestrians seem to have the priority over drivers, even on roads. That would never happen in the UK. Drivers never stop, well only at traffic lights and sometimes on a zebra crossing.

    We were so surprised when we walk into shops in the States, how drivers will automatically stop and let you walk across the road. That would be unheard of here. Drivers always have the right of way.

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  4. Didn't they use to call that Jay Walking? Now they're being protected from their own stupidity and stubborness. I don't know how many times I have been flipped off by some lame brain texting his or her way across the street during MY green light. If they want to cross whenever they like maybe they should be required to wear helmets and pads and take the punishment. Don't even get me started on cyclists.

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  5. Okay, I have lived in New York and went into the city only when forced to by work. And I can say this: anyone who is forced to be a pedestrian in NYC knows that drivers are not only assholes but they're ruthless assholes. Especially the cabbies, which make up at least 60% of the drivers in NYC. They could give a rat's ass if you're in front of them. They'll mow you down even if you're the only one in the crosswalk. So yeah, I can see why they posted those signs but it's not going to do squat to “protect” the pedestrians.

    And then there are those idiot pedestrians who think they own the road, the sidewalk, and THE WORLD. If they get mowed down, well they deserve it. 😉

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  6. Now, if you weren't so busy texting me, it wouldn't be a problem.

    Let's see. In Oregon, the backwater state in which I live, there is a new law. It says that pedestrians have to be stopped for, no matter their location or the timing. If, by chance, they step out from behind a dark windowed SUV that is currently beig driven by a text-messaging soccer mom, I am responsible to slam on my brakes. They are not responsible for their actions. Big tickets are presented, and there are crossing traps everywhere.

    They're almost as bad as the cyclists mentioned above. Almost, but not quite.

    Now, I watch very carefully at marked crossings for people, even in our busy downtown. I will stop traffic on a 45 mph road with my lights to assure that a stinking gaggle of baby geese get across the road safely. But I have such temptation to run down the oxygen wearing chubby girl that takes 3-1/2 minutes to cross a lane because she can't make her way to a damn corner. Due to being fat. Put down the sandwich and WALK, babe!

    You live someplace quaint? How do you rate??

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  7. People on the streets need to remember what their parents taught them and look both ways at all time before crossing, sign or no sign. The law's not going to bring them back when they're roadkill!

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  8. Dawn- that's what the sign means. I've had to slam on my breaks more than once because someone just blithely stepped of the curb becvause they believed they were protected by the invisible force field around the crosswalk.

    LB- Exactly. In some ways life was better and people smarter when they had to look out for themselves more.

    LL- I wish the states had the attitude of the UK and Europe. Cars are big and fast and you damn well better stay out of their way regardless of what a sign may say. Hell, I was in a car last week and another driver didn't see mer and plowed right into my car.

    Monkey Man- Agreed.

    PCB- Are you portraying us New Yorkers as mean people? I don't live in NYC so I hope I'm exempt from your scorn.

    PG- I do not text and drive. Stop spreading rumors. And hey, ease off the overweight folks. How do you know I'm not one of them?

    Scarlet-Exactly, but how can we be sure anyone's parents are teaching them anything?

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  9. I know where you're coming from. At the risk of oversimplifying, we pay claims and court cases for the most obvious examples of human error and basic stupidity that it's easier to put up signs to warn the stupids than it is to rewrite those precedents.

    Are they talking about charging pedestrians who cause accidents whilst texting/calling or listening to their iPods in your state? That's being mooted over here – not sure if it will fly though..

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  10. You are still posting. Holy cow. :o) At least one of us is being good.

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