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Letter to the editor

Pedestrians nix common sense

April 10, 2009

I’m going to ask the Voice’s readers a few questions loosely related to the article about safety in River Falls’ crosswalks. Think of it as a pop-quiz, if you like. There are no wrong answers, just be sure to have a solid explanation in case you’re called on in class.

Approximately when did we shift from a “look both ways and wait for nearby traffic to stop,” to “multi-ton vehicles be damned, I’m crossing,” mentality?

Is there a visibility issue when it comes to pedestrians standing on corners? If one exists, is it due to nearby cars, lighting at various times of day, etc?

Do you, as a pedestrian, feel that it’s intelligent to enter the crosswalk, simply expecting traffic to stop? Do you, as a driver, feel confident enough in your reaction abilities (and those of any drivers behind you) to safely stop your vehicle when a pedestrian suddenly enters the street?

Would it be reasonable to suggest students should leave several minutes earlier and expect to wait for traffic instead of rushing to class at the last minute?

Would it be reasonable to suggest drivers should plan ahead to avoid large groups of students crossing the street approximately 10 minutes before each hour when classes end?

In no less than five complete sentences, explain why pedestrians are justified in crossing a multi-lane road without considering oncoming traffic, whereas a driver looking to do the same thing must wait for an opening.
If no valid argument seems to exist, simply write the complete lyrics to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and hand in your paper.

Andrew Hanson, student