By transitioning into an avid walker in Los Angeles, I am greatly reducing my oil consumption. To spread the joy I will offer some tips on how to survive as a pedestrian in this city environment rampant with road rage infused traffic. Factor in rising gas prices and you may want to take to the streets as well. Walking is not only great exercise, it allows you to become aware of your neighborhood attractions and businesses. You are welcome to add your own tips in the comments section.
- When approaching a vehicle in your crossing path, make eye contact with the motorist. This assures that you will be noticed. Motorists are very busy multi-tasking and fiddling with complicated vehicle control systems (a la iDrive for BMWs), MP3 players and SmartPhones to name a few.
- Look over your shoulders when crossing at an intersection. Motorists making a turn may not notice you until you are in the middle of the cross walk as they make their turn turn. I have been in situations where running out of the intersection was the only option to avoid a body-vehicle confrontation.
- When there is a stopped vehicle in your crossing path, such as a cross walk, choose the path behind the vehicle. You can identify if the vehicle is in reverse by the rear white lights. This still gives the motorist an opportunity to make their move and you don’t get hit.
- Assume that vehicles will be in your crossing path when walking past driveways, allies and parking garages. You will not have the bejeezus scared out of you when a vehicle zoom zooms out of nowhere.
- When crossing a street with no traffic lights, attempt to wait for a lull in traffic. Avoid causing motorists to slam on the brakes, especially buses or large trucks as they have a much longer stopping distance. Anyway, who has the time to stick around to be a witness for the police accident report?
- There is usually little to no room for bicycles on the roads. Many streets with bike lanes share prime real estate with parallel parked cars and their wide opening doors. This combination can earn even the most seasoned bicyclist a one-way ticket to the ER. Expect that you will need to share the sidewalk with bicyclists and make room for them.
- Choose to walk on the side of the street with less stopped traffic. Idling vehicles produce more CO2 than moving vehicles. If both sides are congested, find the closest residential or less congested street running parallel to your path to make your walk more pleasant.
If you are crossing a street that a motorist is attempting a left turn in front of you, hold back and wait for the vehicle to cross. It is better to stay out of the intended path of a vehicle and avoid any body-vehicle confrontation.
Despite that “popular” ’80s song by the Missing Persons, “Walking In LA” this “someone” walks in LA and loves it. Join me and take to the streets by foot, you’ll love it too.
Happy walking, GreenUp! Guy