Thursday, November 06, 2008

Make Like Pedestrian

Yesterday I walked to my favorite place for lunch and continued my reading way through "Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt. He's blogger-iffic.

Today's topic was about driver inattentiveness. He wrote a bit about the "count the number of passes made by the black jerseyed team" video. If you haven't seen the video - why? You can Tube it here.

He also presented a demonstration that goes something like this. Think about the route you took to work this morning. There, did you notice? It's highly likely that when you began to remember your route to work this morning you looked away from these words. If you didn't, you're apparently exceptional.

MinusCar readers are, obviously exceptional. I am not exceptional, I did look away. Humans tend to divert attention when asked to remember something. Indeed eye movement appears to aid in memory recall. Imagine talking on the cell phone and being asked to remember something. Could it be this is one of the ways that cyclists seemingly appear out of nowhere?

It's great fun reading about this stuff and then immediately getting to observe similar behaviour. The walk to and from my dining destination includes negotiating two street crossings of a 50,000 vehicle per day intersection.

As I performed crossing #1 I received the all important eye contact from a right on red turning driver. Curiously she immediately looked away (red flag!) but remembered me long enough to not turn while I crossed in front of her.

As I waited on the curb and red light to make crossing #2 I enjoyed watching her itch, I say itch to make that right on red. Through traffic just wouldn't give her the gap she needed. She made another go/stop attempt as the signal switched to allow left only turns, but she wasn't quite quick enough to made that gap either.

Yes dear reader, I knew what was coming. I saw it on a Mannix rerun once.

Her light turned green as my walk signal came on. I stepped off the curb as she stepped on the gas pedal and for just a moment before I yielded we argued over the same piece of pavement.

(I've never watched Mannix.)


bikingbrady said...

South Dakotan's just don't seem to understand the concept of a crosswalk. It's sad, but they don't. My first trip to Seattle when people stop for you even when you are 3-4 steps from the crosswalk amazed me. Trips to big cities after that brought me to the conclusion that rural states just don't grasp the concept of crosswalks.

Snakebite said...

Anonymous said...

See what you did? You held her up for seconds of her busy life that SHE WILL NEVER GET BACK!
The gall of you people to think you can actually walk to a destination, and in the process, hold up important traffic FOR SECONDS AT A TIME!!!!
(sigh) So many important busy people in this town......

gazer said...

I've taken to smacking cars on the trunk when they do that to me.

Recently heard that the head of California's Department of Transportation does the same thing...

DIRK said...

A half full 20oz bottle of Mountain Dew bouncing off the side of the car usually gets the driver's attention.