Dear Street Smarts,
Q: Your info (Monday, Jan. 9, 2012) on the law regarding drivers yielding to sight impaired folks with the white cane was good but unfortunately stopped short of one other thing that could happen in such situations.
If the street where that story originated was a four lane street, the pedestrian could easily have been wiped out by a car in the adjacent lane. Too many drivers fail to recognize another law that says, if a car is stopped at a crosswalk in an adjacent traffic lane, you must stop and check for pedestrians.
I have a story to illustrate the above. Several years ago, I was driving east in No. 1 lane on Soquel Drive approaching Orchard Street and spotted a young fellow holding a skate board standing in the median of the crosswalk. He had made it across the westbound lanes. As I prepared to stop to yield him the right of way, I noticed a car coming up behind in the No. 2 lane. It appeared to me that if that car failed to stop, the kid would still be in front of my car. But what I had thought to be a sensible young man carrying his skateboard in the pedestrian lane was wrong. He jumped on the skate board the moment I stopped and skated across the two lanes. The woman driving the car in the No. 2 lane did not stop and missed the skate boarder by less than 12 inches on her right front! That scared the woman so badly that she pulled over to the curb and just sat there holding her head. I presumed that the kid on the skateboard was even more shaken but, since no one was hurt, I kept going.
This can happen anywhere there are four or more traffic lanes and at bus stops. The county even allows parking places right up to the cross walks, which hide pedestrians from the far right lane of traffic.
I also see way too many parents teaching their kids to run across the street, crosswalks included. And then there are the bicyclists who ride on the wrong side of the street — especially on the sidewalks — even at night with no headlights or reflective gear. I have had several very near misses due to this nonsense. Where has common sense gone?
Keep up the good work and tell your editor that I want to see your column in the paper five days per week!
Don Burklo, Soquel
A: Thank you for the extra food for thought. Click here for more rules of the road in regard to pedestrians. Learn about the punishment for not stopping for blind pedestrians here. As for Street Smarts going daily in the paper, stay tuned.