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Pushy pedestrians put the cross in crosswalk

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Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 1:11 PM

Is it me or are Durango pedestrians getting more aggressive? I’ve experienced more and more walkers who don’t pause when entering an intersection. They jump right out into the street. Sheesh! And I’m a multi-modal kind of guy. Sign me, Slammen DeBrakes

First, there’s road rage. Now, we have sidewalk rage.

But it’s not really new. Think back to 1969.

Yes, yes. Everyone of a certain age has a pathetic fixation on that year.

It’s especially strong among the erstwhile hippie-dippy set, now AARP members, who reminisce about Woodstock despite the fact that they were never there.

In any case, 1969 was when the film “Midnight Cowboy” was released. There’s this famous line that Dustin Hoffman’s character screams indignantly after a taxi nearly runs him over.

“Hey, I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!”

He was crossing against the light. In traffic. And he’s hacked off by the hack.

Not much has changed, except that today’s motorists are constantly texting. But that’s a different scourge.

When it comes to one’s standing while walking, pedestrians are always on the right side of the law when they are left bleeding on the side of the road.

The Colorado Revised Statutes goes to great strides to protect walkers, declaring: “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way.” This applies to any crosswalk, whether it has a light or not.

At the same time, the law puts its foot down on perambulating scofflaws.

“No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and ... walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Do there really need to be laws stating: “don’t run over people” and “don’t step into traffic”?

Apparently so.

Almost 6,000 American pedestrians were killed in 2016, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Transportation statistics.

Sadly, pedestrians were most likely at fault insofar as 72 percent of those fatalities occurred at “non-intersections.”

Statewide, 93 non-motorists died along the roadside in 2017, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. That’s up 11 percent from the previous year and a grim 45 percent spike from 2015’s body count.

So, yes. It looks like there is a trend afoot. Uppity pedestrians are standing up for the right to get mowed down.

But what shall we do? We turn to Mrs. Action Line, the voice of reason in an increasingly unstable world.

“Everyone needs to chill,” she said. “And drivers, you need to put down your freaking phones and drive.”

As for pedestrians, “Knock off the entitlement,” exhorts Mrs. Action Line. “Who cares if you’re right when you’re dead or missing a leg?”

Leave it to Mrs. Action Line to offer a singular multi-modal model of moderation.

H H HThe Mea Culpa Mailbag had a kind note from Joe Lewandowski of Colorado Parks and Wildlife regarding last week’s column on weird antlers.

“Gotta hand it to you, Michael. You pulled more puns than a pundit peddling pitches for politicians! Not to mention the alliteration.”

As the comic Fred Allen said, “Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.”

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you put your best foot forward when walking across the street.

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