Peeved by peds

8 08 2011

Recently, a woman in Toronto called for all cyclists to be licences after she was run down by a red-light-runner cyclist for the second time in a matter of months. In the first incident, the cyclist fled, a hit-and-ride. In the most recent collision, the offending cyclist stuck around and was appropriately ticketed.

But I doubt licensing those cyclists would have prevented those mishaps. You can’t license against stupidity.

Motorists need to be licensed yet that hasn’t prevented them from getting into accidents.

Pedestrians are also guilty of making stupid decisions, but nobody’s calling for them to pass a test before being unleashed on the sidewalks and crosswalks of the world.

Can't we all just get along?

Of course a stupid pedestrian is a prime example of Darwinism; eventually it will catch up to them. But when a pedestrian does something stupid in the vicinity of cyclists, it puts them both at risk.

Here now is my list of “ped peeves:”

1. The Blithely Oblivious Ped: This is the ped who walks pretty much wherever they want, whenever they want as if they are somehow protected by some sort of strolling force field that will protect them from harm.

Subsets of this species include:

• the Righteous Blithely Oblivious Ped who thinks they have every right to walk wherever they want whenever they want and will yell, swear and flip the bird to anyone who dares divert them from their mission to eventual self-destruction.

• the Drunk Blithely Oblivious Ped.

2. The Compulsive Jay Walking Ped: Jay walkers are bad enough, but who can possibly understand the motivation of a jay walker who steps into busy traffic despite heading in the very direction of an upcoming crosswalk. These pees are the human variation of the old joke, why did the chicken cross the road? They just want to get to the other side and screw everyone else.

3. The Lazy J Jay Walking Ped: Most jay walking peds realize what they’re doing is wrong and likely dangerous, so they commit their dastardly deed as quickly and efficiently as possible; but the Lazy J Jay Walking Ped takes the most leisurely route possible to the other side, curving their crossing, likely in the direction of the nearest crosswalk.

4. The ADD Ped: These are the peds who repeatedly press the Walk button on traffic light poles at intersections, as if pressing the button dozens of times will somehow convey their impatience/urgency to the circuits that control the signal’s timing. The ADD Ped often quickly evolves into…

5. The Existential Ped: “I have pressed the button, therefore I can now cross.” Never mind that the light is still red. Neverrmind that the purpose of the button is just to alert the traffic control system that a ped is waiting and the crossing light should also be activated when the traffic lights change. The Existential Ped is one of the most dangerous species to cyclists because they are often oblivious to our presence as we speed along, enjoying the right of way the green light has supposedly given us.

6. The Teaser/Indecisive Ped: These are the peds who are stopped along the curb at a crosswalk, but they’re so engrossed in their thoughts, lack thereof, or conversation with imaginary entities, or gabbing on their cellphone, they fail to heed the traffic skidding to a halt to allow them to safely cross.

7. The Tunnel Vision Peds: These peds see cars, sometimes even respect them, but they look right past cyclists, often stepping off the curb right into our path.

8. Squirrels: These are the ultimate nightmare ped, they scoot across the road right in front of your wheels, then reconsider their decision and scoot back to where they started across your path again. No wonder there’s so much squirrel roadkill.

What are your Ped Peeves?