Summertime Jaywalking

During the school year, you just get used to jaywalkers in Blacksburg.

That’s because, during the school year, there are tons of students who cross streets without looking to see if cars are coming. Drivers are just expected to not hit them, whether they’re in a crosswalk or not. Actually, drivers are conditioned to constantly check the curb to make sure they aren’t about to be the bad guy in a hit and run.

But that’s during the school year.

During the summer, Blacksburg is populated by a more reasonable, more responsible crowd of pedestrians. They’re, generally, a population that sticks to the crosswalks when crossing streets. They wait for the light to change and give them the go ahead to cross from one corner to another. They look both ways to make sure they aren’t about to get run down by a green Corolla that might be doing five over the speed limit, at best.

But last night, I very nearly hit one of those more reasonable, more responsible pedestrians. And it made me question whether he actually was more reasonable or more responsible.

In my moment of panic as I slammed on the brakes to avoid a Marty McFly situation, the world slowed to a crawl. I got a real good look at this guy. You would think this less reasonable, less responsible pedestrian was some undergrad taking summer classes. But he looked to be older than me. He looked as if he should definitely know better than to step off the curb while paying attention only to your smartphone.

To the summertime jaywalker, I say this: Don’t be that guy. Us townies really look forward to our two and a half months of summer bliss. We’re supposed to be able to enjoy two and a half months in which we don’t necessarily have to constantly sweep our eyes from side to side, diligently checking every inch of the curb to make sure people like you aren’t about to step out into traffic without looking. We should be able to enjoy these summer months without the threat of vehicular manslaughter on our collective conscience.

So, please, no matter what time of year it is, look both ways before you cross the street. It’s a simple thing that you should have been taught as early as preschool. You’re old enough now that you shouldn’t need another adult to hold your hand. Use the crosswalks. Wait for the appropriate signal telling you to walk. The life you save could be your own.

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