Make Crosswalks Work for You

I use crosswalks.

Nobody makes me do it. As a pedestrian, it’s hard for anybody to force me to do anything. It’s even legal for me to cross mid block under some circumstances, as long as I make it snappy, cross in the shortest possible distance, and yield to cars. You can read the law by clicking here. 

I use crosswalks, because I know how to make crosswalks work for me.

Here’s the deal. Turns out I’m not so good at judging speed and distance – especially at night. Guys seem to be extra bad at it, and it’s worse if you’re under 25 or over 50.

Even if I was great at judging the risk, things happen. People trip. People drop things. And sometimes, if I’m stressing, especially if I’m trying to catch a bus, or cross the street in a hurry, I might not be thinking clearly. I’ll see a marker on the side of the road and think: That guy probably thought he was pretty good at judging speed and distance too.

When I use a crosswalk, cars and bicycles are required to stop. Of course I’m not going to tempt fate. Only a fool would step in front of a moving vehicle and trust in the mysterious protective magic of crosswalk paint – and my mama didn’t raise any fools (except my brother).

I’ve got to look out for number one. For me, that means checking at every lane, before I step into it, to make sure all cars are going to stop, and looking back over my shoulder to make sure I’m not going to get tagged by any carelessly turning drivers.

I use the crosswalk because I know drivers are distracted. I know that my best chance of avoiding a crash is to be visible, and predictable. When I use a crosswalk, I know that drivers should at least be looking for me. And if they don’t, sooner or later karma – with its flashing red and blue lights – is going to catch up with them. Either way, I’m okay, because of my “Never step in front of a moving car” rule.

Learn More

The Florida Statutes for Pedestrians