It's winter in Minnesota.
Yeah yeah, I know it's not Winter, it's Autumn, but the windchill is below 10°F and there's snow on the ground, so WINTER.
Going from inside to outside is not entirely pleasant and you probably want to get to another inside destination as quickly as possible. And you know about the whole Minnesota pedestrian law, so you DART INTO TRAFFIC WITHOUT PAUSE.
WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE?
First of all, let me reitirate that it's winter in Minnesota. In other words, there is a constant layer of ice over the roadways for the next 5-7 months. Ice, I'll remind you, is slippery. If you walk out of Starbucks on Grand Avenue and dart across the street while the nearest car is a mere 10 yards away when it's snowing, you bet the driver is going to throw you the bird.
Wondering what the over/under is on whether I'm going to hit a witless walker is why I widely avoid Grand Avenue as a motorist, BUT SOMETIMES I FORGET.
Besides the trust in the automotive industry's braking systems, you're also taking for granted that people are really paying attention while they're driving. You know, with the texting and the Facebooking and the many other things people seem to think need to be done while operating a quickly-moving two-ton machine. You should ponder this AS YOU'RE TEXTING AND JAYWALKING.
The commonly held perception of the MN pedestrian law is that cars have to stop for people crossing the street. The actual law states that you must be in the crosswalk, or at an intersection, and that you may not "suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle".
Here's a few hints:
- obey the pedestrian laws: duh. If you need a reminder, I'll refer you again to The Law.
- actually look at oncoming traffic. I'm surprised by the number of people who wait for an opening in traffic [or not] to cross politely and then ignore what's happening after they hit the street, like a car can't pull out of a parking spot, or turn a corner, or really not notice you're moving at the speed of a turtle stuck in molasses.
- um, look BOTH ways. Just because you're in the crosswalk does not mean that you're becoming a glowing beacon of untouchable pedestrian lawfulness and you have the forcefield of MN Statute 169.21 to protect you. YOU are in the middle of the street. With CARS that outweigh and outrun you.
- Get your death stare on. I regularly cross the street with my entourage (AKA, small children), so while I huddle the team and prepare the troops for the daunting 30+' journey, I also get on my game face [so many metaphors!]. Once we get on the street, I stare down oncoming cars with my best "You talkin' to me" face until we get to the other side.
In other words, DO WHAT YOUR MOTHER TAUGHT YOU.