Militant Pedestrian Rag (Rant)

A couple of days before the solstice, I walked to the store about 5:30 in the evening. We’re at 9.5-hour days here, so it was already dark. My partner had found a long string LED (probably designed for wrapping around a bicycle), so I was carrying it to be more visible.

I always walk to the store, which is about 12 blocks away. I go several times a week and space out my shopping so that I don’t carry too much at a time. It’s a way to combine errands with exercise.

When I reach Piedmont Avenue, which is a heavy pedestrian area, I usually cross at a specific crosswalk across from Peet’s Coffee. There’s no light there, but it gets a lot of regular use.

So I get to the intersection, look to my left and see a car slow down and stop for me. I start crossing. Just as I reach the middle of the street and am turning to look right to make sure the cars coming the other direction are also stopping, I hear someone gun a motor.

So I stop and look left as well as right. A car comes barreling around the ones that stopped for the crosswalk, zooms right past me, and makes an immediate turn onto a small residential street.

If I hadn’t stopped, the car would have hit me. If anyone had been in the crosswalk on the other street, it would have hit them, too.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I got my ears cleaned out the other day so that I heard the engine roar. I also can’t tell you how glad I am that I know to pick up clues like that and act on them even if I’m not sure what’s going on.

I was angry, but I wasn’t hurt (or worse).

This, my dear friends, is why I consider paying attention to be the most important skill in self defense. Because while everyone worries about the bad guy who might jump you, the truth is that accidents are a great deal more common than assaults.

And the same skills that protect you from bad guys protect you from accidents. Continue reading “Militant Pedestrian Rag (Rant)”