I thought one of the biggest things for me to get used to when I moved to the West Coast was possibly the weather. Or maybe the fascinating diversity. Or perhaps avocados.
But in the first month it has DEFINITELY been the rules governing PEDESTRIANS.
SERIOUSLY GUYS, IT’S SO MESSED UP.
Here is the official description of pedestrian law by the California DMV:
Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians. Always stop for any pedestrian crossing at corners or other crosswalks, even if the crosswalk is in the middle of the block, at corners with or without traffic signal lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines.
So if you read this closely, and if you listen to any Californian at all, this means that PEOPLE CAN WILLY-NILLY WALK INTO TRAFFIC AND YOU HAVE TO STOP.
As a Midwesterner, my understanding of pedestrian rules was such:
- When driving, you could kill someone, so pay attention and stop at red lights and make sure pedestrians stay at the corner until it is safe for them to cross which they will unless they are complete dumbasses.
- When a pedestrian, cars can kill you, so pay attention and abide by the crossing signals and stay where you belong until it’s safe for you to cross. And make eye contact with and wave to drivers, just to be safe.
THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS IN CALIFORNIA. And I keep getting corrected during the following scenarios:
- “Cait. Stop waving at the drivers. You can just walk.”
- “Cait. You need to drive more slowly when approaching a crosswalk because you never know when a pedestrian will pop out of nowhere.”
- “Cait. Don’t wait for traffic at the crosswalk or this will be an endless standoff. You can just walk.”
- “Cait. I know we’re in the middle of an intersection but that person decided they wanted to cross the street so we have to stop immediately.”
- “Cait. You have to wait for that pedestrian to make a decision before you can proceed. Just sit here or you’ll get sued.”
- “CAIT YOU CAN JUST WALK.”
Just … WTF guys. I drove past the high school yesterday at 8:30 a.m. and almost had 15 teenage hood ornaments. Am I a lunatic? Has anyone else experienced this in California or elsewhere?
Next thing to conquer: artichokes. Oh and making friends as a grown-up.
Until I get arrested,