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Dodging the jay-walkers August 9, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish.

Jay-walking is a subject that really gets on my goat. (Note: I don’t actually own a goat). Talk to pedestrians and they’ll say that drivers think they own the road. Talk to cyclists and they’ll say the same. Talk to motorists and they think everyone on the road is nuts, except them. I’ve got news for you people – motorists DO REALLY OWN THE ROAD.

Being a rather recent but fully paid up, licensed member of the motorist category I must side with my fellow vehicle owners. I hate jay-walkers ! They are the bane of my in-car life, dodging in and out of traffic with no fear.

There are, of course, 3 well known categories of jay-walker who range in level of dangerousness and ability to avoid the traffic.

(1) The Hurried
This species, too much in a hurry to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing 10 yards down the street, takes his life in his hands while running for the other side. They are to be found teetering on the edge of pavements, often right next to or behind parked cars, waiting for their moment to pounce. Once they decide they’re going, they’re going ! Running across the first lane they make it to the relative safety of “the white line”, changing their gait to move quickly through the barriers of the second lane to the haven of the pavement beyond. Often to be seen running across the street even with little or no traffic approaching.

(2) The Chancer
Personally, this is my least favourite breed of jay-walker. They stand reading the traffic flow, ready to pounce at a moments notice i.e. whenever that little light goes off in their heads that says “Yes ! I can walk faster across 3 lanes of moving traffic than that approaching car can get to me!” Wrong ! We’re in cars – cars go faster than the fastest human and even if we’re a hundred yards away and you have started your walk there’s a good chance we will have to slow down or swerve to avoid you.

The Chancer jay-walker will slow down too though, having estimated that he will get to the other side before you get to him. Wrong ! and of course the species is also know for its frequent death-stare looks and animated hand gestures at us, the motorists, if we should happen to beep our horns to protest at their stupidity and more importantly, our alarming proximity !

(3) The Complete Eejit *
All too often the most common breed of jay-walker to be found falls into this category. It includes the drunks, the little old ladies, the gangs of kids, the suits on mobile phones, the bumpkins out for a day in the city … the list is endless. This is also the easiest group to hit, as I have seen on a few occasions. These are the creatures who will stop half way over the lanes to beckon on their relatives who really didn’t think it was “a go”, or who will just walk out no matter what the traffic flow. And expect everyone to stop. The complete eejit will also be the one you see walking just off the footpaths – that is, instead of walking on the pavement, they’ll walk just off the pavement in the road – sure it’s the same thing really ?

I often wondered how to stop the jay-walking problem in our cities and towns and came up with an ingenious plan (cough). Lets say that if you are caught on a road or street with approaching traffic on it and you cross the said road without using the pedestrian crossings provided (you’d have to wait on the green man to change mind), you should be fined €100 on the spot. Since the Gardaí obviously don’t have the resources to man the average immigration booth, it could be a great job for the new Garda reserve. Old woman caught in middle of O’Connell St. €100. Tommy and Mary nearly cause collision in the middle of Parnell St. €100.

Zero tolerance to jay-walkers. Its for your own good !

* an eejit is an Irish expression for idiot. Like someone who would walk in the middle of the road when there’s lots of traffic about.

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