Rude pedestrian = rude driver?
We tend to learn many things growing up that help us as we become a driver. For example, learning to ride a bike has helped us learn how to deal with traffic. What about being a pedestrian? Does that help us make driving choices as well; good or bad?
I recently watched one of our local transit drivers walking along the street ahead of me. As most people, he was walking on the right side of the sidewalk while I was walking behind him. As we continued along we came across another pedestrian who was walking toward us but was directly in our path. They seemed distracted and were looking down while walking. My first reaction was to move to the left of the sidewalk to let them pass. However, the transit driver ahead of me continued to walk on the right side of the sidewalk right toward the oncoming pedestrian. They did this to a point of almost hitting that pedestrian. But why? Why didn’t they move out of the way if they saw them, which it appeared that they did?
Once this transit driver passed this startled pedestrian, they looked over their shoulder at that pedestrian and shook their head. I was truly disgusted at them. As a professional driver, why couldn’t they move over, especially if the oncoming pedestrian didn’t see them? Would they drive their city bus the same way as they act while being a pedestrian? Do you drive similar to how you act as a pedestrian? If you purposely walk toward people, do you purposely drive toward them as well?
I will often explain to new drivers and licensed drivers that we drive with our brain. Our brain tells us where to look so our hands and feet can be tools to allow us to drive safely. Does our brain distinguish the difference between walking and driving? Perhaps, but we also do things out of habit. If you walk in such a way that puts other pedestrians at risk, would you do the same thing while driving? On the other hand, if you respect pedestrians while walking, would you respect other drivers as well?
Think of the many years we’ve spent as a pedestrian before we became a driver. It’s time to use those good pedestrian habits to instil good driving habits. If you share the sidewalk, then share the road. If you don’t, maybe it’s about time you should.