Y is for yield

“NOW he stops,” I thought.

yield to pedestrianBack in February, I had arranged for a certain speaker to give a talk at one of the Black History Month sessions in adult education at my church.

Unfortunately, about a week and a half before she was scheduled to visit, she was hit by a car at the corner of Central Avenue and Henry Johnson Boulevard, a major intersection in Albany. She survived with some broken bones and bruises, but she was in no shape to give her talk.

Now, I wasn’t there. But I would not be surprised if she were hit because some car failed to yield the right of way to her as a pedestrian. I believe this because I have seen three accidents at that very corner, and two of them happened that same way. The third was a car that failed to yield to an ambulance that had its siren and flashers.

Since that recent accident, I’ve seen more signs like this one. But in my limited experience, it has not made an appreciable difference in (bad) driver behavior.

Cars yielding to the pedestrian at intersections is a fundamental rule of traffic law in most places. I remember being at an intersection in San Diego when I waited for the car to inevitably rush through the corner. Instead, the driver stopped and looked at me with a look that said, “Hey, dummy, what are you waiting for? Cross the street!”

I’m more used to this: one winter’s day, crossing the street with the light, I was nearly being hit by some car coming from my right, who, under his incorrect reading of the Right on Red law – and illegally on his cellphone – failed to STOP and yield to the pedestrian traffic (me). I was so angry, I picked up a snowball and hit his back windshield as he was pulling away. The driver stopped, got out of his car, and yelled something. “YOU ALMOST KILLED ME!” I growled as I walked away from him. “NOW he stops,” I thought. (I was REALLY impressed with my snowball prowess that day.)

One of the trickier pieces of recent traffic law in New York State is the notion that, at an unmarked intersection, drivers should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. This works well at intersections that are specially marked with signs, not so much at others.

ABC Wednesday – Round 18

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