Monthly Archives: August 2013

How to Stop At An Intersection When a Pedestrian Is Trying To Cross

I’m a pedestrian, most of the time. I live in a city, and I go running nearly every morning on the streets and in the (very large) park, and I am lucky enough to be able to walk to the grocery store, other markets, restaurants, and wonderful places to go.

And on those perambulations, I spend quite a bit of time crossing streets by using the sidewalk.This morning in particular, I was crossing a street in the park. The street in particular is an asymmetrical four-way stop, kind of like this.

I looked left and started to cross the street. The car ( a gray Toyota Corolla, driven by a nondescript person who was wearing sunglasses and may have been male or female) edged forward. I stopped and stared at the driver, then started again. The car edged forward again. I stopped and looked hard at the car, and it edged forward again. Finally, I breathed hard and sprinted across the intersection. Behind me, the car accelerated and cruised across.

What was this driver doing? And why did I keep stopping? I did so because I knew what the driver’s feet were doing. He was waiting for me to move, and when I started moving, he was taking his feet off the brake pedal and idling forward, making me think that he was accelerating towards me, which would make me stop. We were in a ¬†stalemate.

You can understand my fear. What if his foot slipped? What if he doesn’t see me at all in the morning sun and fog? I just. Don’t. Know.
Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.35.34 AM
This kind of thing is very easy to do well. When stopped at an intersection, actually stop, with your foot on the brake and the car not moving. If a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, stay stopped, and don’t accelerate until the person in question is out of your potential reach. The pedestrian won’t be scared to death, and you may get to your destination just a bit quicker.