Based on years of witnessing driver, rider, and pedestrian behavior, in myself and others, I'd say the fundamental problems are people being oblivious to their surroundings (my friend calls these folks bear-snacks), and people being belligerent about their rights/path/position on the road.
Five times in the last month I've seen pedestrians jaywalking and impeding traffic on BUSY streets (Powell and Foster), two of those persons were mothers with children. I'm fine with jaywalking if you are crossing with enough alacrity and space to allow for traffic to flow normally, but if you're expecting traffic to slow for you, and you're not at a crosswalk or intersection with signals in your favor, then you're not only belligerent, you're suicidal. Whether or not you have the right of way, you really shouldn't escalate the argument to a contest between your body and a hurtling pile of steel. You'll lose. It's really not about who's right. Pay attention, because you can't assume anyone else is.
I see bicycles doing the same type of thing. There are GREAT, safe, peaceful and often convenient routes through Portland that are designed and reserved for bicycles, but I still see cyclists impeding traffic on busy, dangerous streets just a few blocks from said bike boulevards/routes. Now, they have a right to be there and take the lane, but really, if you can't keep up with the flow of traffic, you're putting yourself in danger, and you're also angering motorists who are impeded by your presence, who may take that anger out, later, on other riders. This is also not about who's right and who has the right, it's about what actually happens when you ride your bike up Hawthorne at 8 mph and cause a minor traffic jam because you don't want to ride one block over to be safe and considerate.
Please, consider your actions and your position in the thoroughfare, both for your own safety, as well as for your impact on others around you. All pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers are people, and all are trying to get somewhere safely and quickly. Consider that.
posted 2 years, 6 months ago
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