If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be walking in the street while I was behind the wheel of the car, chances are you have nearly been run over.
You might have walked in front of me at a crosswalk without looking around, or maybe you weren’t on the street at all and I almost hit you as I ran up on the curb.
Either way, campus traffic is full of potentially dangerous distracted individuals. Campus roads provide ample opportunity to strike pedestrians and cyclists with vehicles, and if I were a person who enjoyed that sort of thing, I’d be in luck. Regrettably, I am legally required to not be that kind of person.
Firstly, if you’d like to get to the magical land across the street, you must place your feet upon enormous white lines known as crosswalks. The lack of a sign or a plaque reading “Cross here” seems to confuse most people, and probably explains why half of them jet out between parked cars and treat oncoming vehicles like psychics, instead of the 4,000-pound killing machines they are.
We’ve all heard that “pedestrians always have the right of way,” but it’s simply not true if you aimlessly wander into the middle of the street.
Drivers should never assume the thousands of kids going to and from class in the morning are going to stop crossing the street. Be prepared to wait at least three hours in front of each crosswalk before your car makes it around the Drillfield — bring blankets and dinner just in case. A slow-walking pedestrian is your only chance to escape traffic limbo.
For all you drivers who seem to think “The Fast and the Furious” was the greatest movie ever made, you are wrong. You are very, very wrong. Slow down. Human life is not as priceless as we’re told; every pedestrian has a price tag — quite a large one, actually.
Impatience is a virtue very dear to my heart, but it does you no good on campus. Anyone who drives understands my sentiment doesn’t only concern pedestrians. The horrific battle for parking spaces begins at 5 p.m., in front of Squires Student Center, if anyone needs cheap entertainment for a few hours.
If we ignore the fact that parking lots turn into wild versions of bumper cars at night, and that pedestrians don’t know what oncoming traffic is, we can set our sights on something that brings the two groups together.
I’m speaking, of course, about our mutual aversion to cyclists and skateboarders. As a cross between a pedestrian and a moving vehicle, they get away with running red lights and going against traffic, in spite of the law. At this point, you really shouldn’t have to ask if I’ve ever been close to hitting a cyclist.
Our two-wheeled friends are not all bad, though. Cyclists get their own lane and they tend to stay in that lane for the most part. They should be commended for that, especially when drivers constantly seem to forget bike lanes exist.
Skateboarders pose another threat altogether because they drift along on sidewalks where the majority of pedestrians are and pretend to be Bucky Lasek. Luckily for all of us, most skateboarders don’t know how to stay on their boards long enough to hit anything.
With that said, it’s unfair to place all the blame on the people who walk, drive, bike or skateboard themselves around campus.
Virginia Tech has a dangerous commuting structure that causes accidents and unsafe competition for parking. It should be fixed, no questions asked. Until that day, keep in mind there are thousands of people on campus who shouldn’t even have a license to walk.
Take a little extra care and try not to run them over, OK?