Without getting into a debate about cars vs. pedestrians (including cyclists), I would like to profess my undying, unrestrained love for cars that stop at crosswalks — especially those who approach slowly and stop well before the line of the crosswalk. Those that stop at not one, but two crosswalks in a row? Those cars are going straight to heaven (or whichever “better place” you prefer).
The thing is, stopping at crosswalks is the law, and in theory, not stopping can come with a hefty ticket. But practically, there are a lot of cars who just want to sneak through to get on their busy way (sometimes with a cursory “thank you” wave). As a pedestrian, the 10 seconds I have to wait for you to sneak through is of no benefit. The fear I have when I see a thousand pounds of metal creeping towards me? That’s what gets me. The surprise I see when you finally notice me, standing at an intersection, waiting at a designated crosswalk with my arm up, actually wanting to cross the street? That’s what gets me. So those cars that do stop (and there are many) before the line or those that make it abundantly clear that they do see you, that they are happy to give you 10 seconds to cross the road safely — those are the heroes in my day.
There is of course the argument that the car really, truly, honestly, pinky-swear, didn’t-see-you-trying-to-cross-the-street. Totally. It happens to the best of us. But most of the time, as with most things in life, it’s better to slow down, practice some empathy, and be kind to one another. Because, while I am happy to get all mom-ragey on cars that don’t stop, my three year old (or any other child who is just back to school) may have a different fate.
Old Chelsea, QC