Daily WTF: The NYC Pedestrian-Driver Dynamic

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting New York City for the first time (anticipate a post this upcoming weekend), and while much of it was wonderful, there was one glaringly awful facet of it: the pedestrian-driver dynamic.

We all know NYC is crowded (Over 8.5 million people live there and millions more visit.), but that’s not what I’m talking about.  No, I’m talking about the fact that cars just lurch from lane to lane, around corners, and through red lights while pedestrians stand far out into the road, cross against the lights while cars are mere feet away from them, and don’t even look up from their friend, phone, or latte while crossing.  It is nerve-wracking and just plain baffling.

I had the dubious pleasure of being on both sides of the dynamic, though thankfully not during rush hour, and, honestly, pedestrians are much more irritating.  Drivers have developed keen instincts and the technique of basically living on their horns to let people know when they’re driving through, changing lanes, letting someone in, or the light has turned.  It’s actually pretty easy to work with drivers (though the never-ending stream of horn blasts during rush hour is hella irritating).  Pedestrians (which includes bicyclists) are mad, inconsiderate creatures who see about two feet of open space and just dart for it.  Now, I know everyone in Manhattan is just super busy, but you’d think avoiding having your crumpled, broken body thrown onto the hood of a taxi would be more important that crossing the street right this second.

So, my fellow country bumpkins, if you ever wind up in NYC as a driver, keep a weather eye out: there will be thousands of ear bud-wearing, coffee-sipping, power-walking, fast-pedaling, cell phone-shrieking New Yorkers there more than willing to dart in front of your car to get to their destination 15 seconds earlier.  Watch out for them and use that horn liberally.

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