We presume the instruction for pedestrians to ‘wave’ before going over crosswalks in Great Barrington, MA, means they should make eye-contact with the drivers of approaching vehicles. But will it work?
If our assumption is correct, it makes us wonder whether some younger people — or perhaps people of one particular gender — will necessarily be comfortable with the concept of waving to people of a different gender, especially to those individuals who are, shall we say, a little less than desirable or perhaps even a little frightening. (Yes, we are dancing around the political correctness of this situation but you all know precisely what we mean!) This may seem like a silly comment but if not everyone can be expected to be comfortable with the ‘wave’ suggestion then surely something more appropriate needs to be found to make the issue sustainable.
Using reminder words painted on the pavement at crosswalks is a very useful technique that has been used in some other countries for many decades and has been slow arriving in the USA, but that isn’t the issue. Could a better suggestion be found than the word ‘wave’?
When crossing a road or street, whether at a crosswalk or not (bearing in mind that in many places there certainly are not enough crosswalks, and sometimes none at all), it is extremely important to keep checking both ways while crossing, not just before setting off… You never know when you, as a pedestrian, will cross paths with a drunk, drugged, distracted or drowsy driver — and if they don’t notice that big, conspicuous crosswalk they probably won’t notice you, whether you wave or not, so keep checking!
On that basis, we would suggest replacing that word ‘wave’ with ‘use care’.
Massachusetts is already very inventive with its crosswalks but regrettably the various bright colours it uses for many of them do not use appropriate thermoplastic (paint) and while they may be conspicuous in daylight they can become difficult to see in the dark and absolutely invisible during nighttime rain — obviously this is something that is hugely undesirable when pedestrian safety is the key objective.
And then there is pedestrian behavior, too. If you’ll forgive the pun, pedestrian safety is very much a two-way street
You may want to see how many ‘likes’ you have received on that brain-sucking gadget we nearly all carry with us, but we can guarantee you won’t like having a car parking on top of you, or even getting a glancing blow from a passing cyclist, so please don’t do what the guy in the photo on the left is doing.
Having your eyes down might result in you landing face down.
Who cares if you have a green ‘cross now’ light! Have you never heard of red-light runners?
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