Crosswalk caution

It’s normal to be afraid of dying except when that thought is the most prevalent thing on your mind while walking to class.

In fact, I find that I am more afraid while walking to class than I was last summer taking metros and walking through crowded streets in Rome with the chance that Gypsy children or pickpockets could rob me at anytime. Yes, saying that walking to class scares me more than the possibility of being robbed seems senseless; however, this statement is completely true in my life.

It’s a Monday morning at 8:50 a.m. I’m walking to the Writing Center for my shift at work with my coffee and lunch box in hand. One obstacle stands between me and a successful day at work and class: crossing the highway. I stand patiently at the crosswalk waiting for someone to be gracious enough to allow me to cross, but time and time again people see me standing on the side of the road but don’t slow down.

Most days I spend a few minutes waiting for one person to slow down for me to cross, or I get stuck standing in the median with cars rushing by on either side.

The scariest part of being stuck in the middle of the road is when an 18-wheeler begins to speed up while I’m standing in the median. They put off so much wind that I almost lose my balance.

The speed limit on Francis Marion Road is 35 mph; that’s not very fast. However, when I’m preparing to cross the street, cars seem to be traveling faster than 35 mph, judging from how quickly people make it from the red light at Highway 76 to the crosswalk between the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) and campus.

There have even been times when I have started crossing the highway while cars were just turning onto Francis Marion Road, and they continued to accelerate as I was walking across.

According to South Carolina law 56-5-3130, “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.”

Pedestrians have the right-of-way. If a pedestrian is walking through a crosswalk, this does not mean the car should speed up.

Even though there are laws in place concerning crosswalks, I have been in situations where a South Carolina Highway Patrol car would not yield to my right-of-way while I was standing in the middle of the road.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in common courtesy, which means taking the 10 seconds out of your day to let someone cross the road. The fact that a driver may be running late to class or work does not validate putting the lives of pedestrians at risk.