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How Did We Ever Cross The Street Without Trenton?

Since there has been man, there have been streets. I found references to streets in Genesis (10:11, 19:2). Throughout the entire sweep of our shared history, from biblical times, to the Greeks, the Romans, the Medieval period and the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, the Victorian era, and so on down, mankind has crossed the street without being told how to by the New Jersey state legislature. I don’t know how we survived as a species before it’s inception.

The arrogance and vanity of this body has reached dizzying new heights. They have completely tossed out the window any possibility that drivers and pedestrians, rational people, the people actually on the scene, have any judgement at all in determining the best time to get a pedestrian across the street. They have determined that no matter what the situation, driver stop, walker go, period. They also seem to think there are two groups of people out there, the meany drivers, and the shivering, hapless pedestrians, and they want to be seen as totally on the side of the pedestrians. I have news for our esteemed lawgivers. WE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE. Sometimes we drive. Sometimes we walk. But we are one. We can get along just fine without them directing traffic from their offices in Trenton.

When I’m walking down the street I don’t mutter “those drivin’ bastards” every time I see a car. I might have been one of “those bastards” an hour ago. Similarly, when I’m driving down the road and see a pedestrian I don’t think “Ha, poor son of a bitch!”. Why should I? The problem is government loves division. Black vs. white. Rich vs. poor. Women vs. men. Young vs. old. City vs. suburb. The list is endless. Anything that increases their power.  But driver vs. pedestrian? We sympathize with both because we are both. But no matter. Get the government cash registers oiled up. There’s a lot of money to be made! (Not really “made”. In this case, stolen. Only productive activity “makes” money.) Belmar is gearing up to “strictly enforce” ($$$$$)  the new law and the feds are actually providing grants to have undercover cops pretend to be pedestrians and catch those evil non-stopping drivers ($$$$$$$$$$). You would think that drivers were burning crosses on the lawns of pedestrians.

Before the legislature decided we were too stupid to decide for ourselves how to cross the street (it’s funny, they didn’t think we were too stupid to vote for them at election time), if I was driving and saw someone who seemed to want to cross the street I would use my judgement to size up the situation. If I was still pretty far from the street crosser I would hang back and waive him or her across without actually stopping. If I was close enough that I would have to come to a stop to let them pass I would check my mirror. If there were no cars behind me so the walker would have to wait only literally a second or two for me to pass to have a clear road then I would pass, perhaps even speed up a bit to shorten their wait. If there were cars behind me then I would stop and hold up the traffic so they could cross. I used my best judgement. Everything was ok as far as I could tell. If I was walking and wanted to cross the street I would wait for traffic to pass. If there was a lot of traffic I would be more assertive and if necessary hold my hand up to signal I want to cross. I never had a driver blast past me when I has holding up my hand. People are nice. They stop.

Now everyone is on a knife’s edge. Drivers (myself included) slam on the brakes anytime they see a person near the street for fear he or she might be an undercover agent. Often all traffic comes to a halt and it turns out the person was just standing there and didn’t want to cross anyway, or was waiting for his or her companions to join them before crossing. I see pedestrians who would have been perfectly happy to wait a few seconds for traffic to pass now running across the street because they feel bad about making everybody stop for them. When I want to cross the street, and I see a nice gap in traffic, I actually turn away from the street and pretend I don’t actually want to cross so I don’t make people haul 3000 pound vehicles to a stop for me. Then when the traffic passes I do a u-turn and cross the street. Our authorities are driving everybody crazy. They are also creating a hazard for bicyclists with those dumb warning signs in the middle of the street. They are an absolute menace for two wheelers as they don’t allow cars to give bicyclists a wide berth when passing them.

Maybe we should do what Canada does. In Canada, if you want to cross the street you have to hold your arm out to signal drivers you would like for them to stop. If you prefer to wait for traffic to pass, you stand and wait. If you want them to stop you hold your arm out and they stop. Seems pretty logical to me. But since when did logic have anything to do with the New Jersey state legislature?

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