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Crosswalks Most Dangerous to Cross Street

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Crosswalks at intersections are most dangerous places to cross a street

You can always tell if someone grew up in a town or in the countryside based on whether or not they use crosswalks.

I grew up out in the sticks, in a place that has never seen a crosswalk. I had no idea that people really used crosswalks – or even how to use them – until I was in my early twenties. I always thought that crosswalks were just painted on the street just because it looked good. I always took crosswalks to be mere suggestions of where to cross, I had no idea that people followed them as a rule.

I always just crossed streets at the place where it seemed safest to me, which was usually not at an intersection or crosswalk. I grew up in the countryside, I hate crosswalks. It is my impression that they are at the most dangerous place for a pedestrian to cross a street.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Istanbul, Turkey- March 10, 2009
Travelogue Travel Photos

On a perfect planet, people would be able to trust that all automobile drivers will look for pedestrians and follow all traffic rules. In this world, crosswalks are a good idea. But this is not the planet that we live on.

We live in a world where stale green, yellow, and recently turned red lights mean speed up and go faster. Cars speed up at intersections so they do not have to stop at a red light – this is not a good location to be in.

I do not trust anyone, especially automobile drivers. I take it as a given that all motor vehicle drivers do not see me. I take this as a rule. I depend on myself, and myself alone, to see and avoid motor vehicles. I do not want to have to depend that a driver will follow traffic rules. I do not want to even give a driver the benefit of the doubt.

If you cross a street outside of a cross walk and away from an intersection, there is only two ways at most that traffic can be traveling. I look one way and then the other, and then cross when the crossing is good. At a crosswalk in an intersection, traffic can be coming from a variety of directions – including behind me – so there are far more variables and far more ways to be run down and smushed.

In 95% of the countries in the world, cars will always take the right of way. I see nothing wrong with this. A car can run me over, so I will let them go first. As Bob L says, the right of way goes to the bigger object: cars trump people and buildings trump cars.

It is folly to put your life in the hands of stranger who is suppose to follow a rule. Rules are not followed, that is why they exist. Cross walks exist because cars do not stop for people.

Cross walks are the places where traffic condenses. I would much rather avoid this cluster-up, and cross in the middle of the road where there are no intersections. I aim to cross a street at the point where the directional variables are at their least.

But Chaya is different. Chaya grew up in a small city. She looks for crosswalks and tries to cross at them, as she thinks that it is safer (maybe it is?). This is probably our biggest argument: where do we cross the street?

We were walking down a busy divided highway in Istanbul a few days ago, and I made a motion to cross the street when there was a lull in the traffic. Chaya did not follow me. So I checked myself and followed her to a cross walk, where we attempted to cross eight lanes of piled up traffic. When we were almost across the street, a speeding taxi cab spun a fast turn and came within two inches of crashing into me. Seriously, I felt the car brush my pant legs as I jumped out of the way. I was very nearly run down because I trusted that the cars would give me the right of way in a crosswalk when the light was red. I was wrong.

I cross streets when the crossing is good. I trust myself to determine when it is safe to cross a street, and not some stupid light.

I do not trust the rules that are suppose to govern a society. I trust that which makes sense to me. The more you avoid motor vehicles, the safer traveling becomes. Traffic piles up at intersections, this is the last place where I want to be.

This is my impression. I have no idea if it is correct. If you disagree, walk in the crosswalks and we will see who gets ran down and smushed first.

Crosswalks at intersections are most dangerous places to cross a street

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Filed under: Eastern Europe, Europe, Turkey

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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