By Jillian Anderson
Endless mobs of people cross in front of my car as I wait to turn. It hasn’t been that long, I know it hasn’t, but it feels like years in car time. When you’re on Baylor’s campus, you no longer follow the rules of the road. You follow the rules of the walkers. And bikers. Just anyone who isn’t driving.
It’s a bit frustrating as someone who has to drive through campus during rush hour and constantly keep my head on an extra sensitive swivel to make sure I don’t accidentally hit anyone. While not entirely frothing mad, I am disappointed with the level of pedestrian awareness. Specifically, I wish they were more aware of their surroundings.
As someone who’s recently been in an accident, I take safety very seriously. It’s distressing when someone darts out in front of my car without a nod. A gesture of acknowledgement would be nice just to know that a pedestrian saw me and that I saw them.
This isn’t saying that I don’t pay attention to the road, far from it. It’s just that I’m at a stop sign and the pedestrian just walks up to it. They decide that crossing right now is so very important to their life and it can’t wait. Thus, I slam my brakes, and they jauntily walk across the road to their destination. My neck luckily is flexible. However, it doesn’t sit well with me that someone would ignore the car in the road.
It’s important that pedestrians and drivers have an open line of communication especially in such high traffic areas. The road belongs to everyone – not to only drivers, bikers, or pedestrians. It’s a shared commodity. In order to keep everyone safe on it, common rules should apply.
I’m sure somewhere in some old ancient text only decipherable by those well versed in civil servitude, there are plenty of laws and instructions on how to cross the road. When getting a license, drivers are taught that pedestrians have the right of way. There are some provisions, but in the rush to get from point A to point B to do thing C, everyone puts their blinders on and guns for the target. The rules of the road don’t seem to matter when you have a test in a lab and you just got out of Thinking and Writing.
Patience – oh gosh am I bad at this – would go a long way in making campus rush hour smoother. Looking both ways twice and waving to a driver could mean the difference between a safe trip and a trip to the clinic. In all the hustle, taking a simple look around and waving at a person as you drive, bike, or walk across the street not only could improve safety but also could brighten someone’s day.
However, It could just be an affront to my Southern sensibilities, but when people don’t make eye contact or acknowledge me when we cross paths, I’m truly devastated. It would be helpful if there were a crosswalk sign like the one on 8th Street and MP Daniel Esplanade.
In the meantime, this small complaint will be seen on the flip side when I fully heal and become a part of the walking legion once more.
Also, if anyone was curious about my accident, I fell down the stairs with my bike in a rush.
Jillian Anderson is a senior journalism major from Houston. She is a reporter for the Lariat.