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The Modern Moloch
May 9, 2013 1:22 AM   Subscribe

Jaywalking, in time and space
posted by eotvos (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't think the difference in crossing styles is an East/West thing. Swiss people wait for the crossing signal just as rigorously as the Japanese. I had fellow-pedestrians in Lucerne shout at me for crossing a clear road against the light.

I think each nation has a different culture, in fact. The French are indeed more 'sauve qui peut' about it, but then in Lisbon I couldn't see much evidence that the concept of rules applying to traffic or pedestrians was understood at all.
posted by Segundus at 3:16 AM on May 9, 2013


It's always funny to observe this phenomenon locally: ie, between individuals who are collectively waiting to cross. Past a certain tipping point, the collective mentality does take over... there's no sense in waiting for the "proper" time/space to cross when eight people in front of you are jaywalking, or at least you feel foolish.

I wonder if there's any connection at all between right-on-red laws and jaywalking... waiting for the signal here can be pointless depending on the street configuration because you'll just be squished by a cell-phone-talking Tundra driver turning right. So I usually just go when I can't see any dangerous oncoming cars, regardless of the light, and that often turns out to be just after the light's turning having relieved the pent up traffic. So exactly when the "don't walk" sign is lit.

Re: Lisbon, that seemed to me to be a city that really barely functions at all for cars. Maybe was just the area I was in, though. I think the Portuguese drive so fast everywhere else in the country to relieve their pent up frustration.
posted by selfnoise at 3:38 AM on May 9, 2013


Hey, Inuyama! I've been there! I've also been to Osaka, where I've been at times the only one NOT crossing against a "don't walk" light.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:39 AM on May 9, 2013


Yeah, this is finer-grained than national. City by city, walking across the street is very different.
posted by rikschell at 4:22 AM on May 9, 2013


I wonder if there's any connection at all between right-on-red laws and jaywalking

Yeah, the right-on-red thing is probably to blame for a lot more injuries and fatalities than jaywalking ever could be. People crossing without the benefit of a light tend to keep their wits about them. I have been hit once by a car and I have narrowly dodged several more: in every case it was in a jurisdiction where right turns on red were legal and the driver was turning right and looking left. This seems to me the stupidest goddamn thing to do with a car -- you have 3000 lbs of machinery which is stationary right now, you are about to apply a couple hundred horsepower to move it... why are you not interested in looking where it will be one second from now?

Toronto police did a massive crackdown on jaywalkers in early 2010, handing out tickets with enthusiasm. This was a response to seven pedestrian fatalities in January 2010. As I recall, most of these deaths (I want to say five, but I cannot find a link) were of people crossing legally while a driver was turning right on red, also quite legally. There was no corresponding safety blitz for drivers, of course. I guess it is harder to fine people for obeying the law, but the fuck-up of doing this seems to me like something out of The Wire, had it been in the Traffic division instead of Narcotics.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:07 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there's any connection at all between right-on-red laws and jaywalking... waiting for the signal here can be pointless depending on the street configuration because you'll just be squished by a cell-phone-talking Tundra driver turning right.

It greatly annoys me that there's no signal to override a right-on-red. Some parts of Massachusetts used to have a red-and-yellow light that completely forbid right-on-red when the walk button had been pressed, but those have mostly been eliminated because they don't conform with federal standards.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:08 AM on May 9, 2013


I have a theory selective breeding has eliminated Tokyo residents who ignore crossing lights. Unlike in America, the taxis here cannot smell lack of fear, or perhaps they simply do not care.
posted by 23 at 7:09 AM on May 9, 2013


"Modern."

The Inequitable Toll of Pedestrian Deaths - minorities and the elderly are at greater risk of death by automobile.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:21 PM on May 10, 2013


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