Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I'm used to jaywalkers. I encounter them every day. I have even jaywalked myself, on occasion. I don't think it's exceptionally wrong to jaywalk. But obviously, you have to be careful. And the woman I saw today, who was attempting to cross a busy street with her baby in a stroller, was being less than careful.

I live near the large and ever-growing Sparrow Hospital. I drive by it every day, at least twice a day, bringing my children to and from school. The hospital sprawls down an entire city block, and across Michigan Avenue is Sparrow Professional Building, another sizable institution. The two are connected by a skywalk. Behind Sparrow Hospital is Eastern High School which serves 1300 students. Michigan Avenue is a main street that ends at the Capitol building. It is a busy, 5-lane thoroughfare.

It is not unusual to encounter jaywalkers while driving down this particular stretch of Michigan Avenue. In other words, it would be unusual not to see jaywalkers, especially at the beginning and end of school hours, when hoards of kids are weaving in and out through stop-and-go traffic.
Once in a while, I wonder why people don't go the extra few feet to cross Michigan at a crosswalk, or why medical personnel don't just go up the 3 floors to the skywalk. They can even use an elevator, for heaven's sake.

But today, I felt downright indignant to see a mother, with her toddler in a stroller, edging out onto Michigan Avenue and then retreating until traffic cleared. Seriously. She could have easily walked the 20 or 30 yards to a crosswalk in order to much more safely traverse the bustling street.

I'm not a judgmental person. I try to mind my own business. But, twelve years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a pedestrian get hit by a car, on that very same stretch of Michigan Ave. In that case, it was a grown man who was trying to cross amidst stopped traffic. As he was waiting in the center lane, a car unexpectedly pulled into the center lane and hit him, sending him somersaulting over the top of car, which then sped off. (Luckily, someone else had the presence of mind to follow that car and get the license plate number. Meanwhile, I was sitting there, stunned and wondering what to do. I eventually pulled over to tell a police officer what I had seen, but the driver of the car that had followed came back to give him all the information he needed.) That man got up and hobbled over to the curb, most likely with a broken arm, since he was cradling it and whimpering as he made his way to the ER staff that was already rushing outside.

But I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been that baby in a stroller who had gotten struck. That is why I feel somewhat incensed at the carelessness of that woman crossing the street with her baby. That is all I have to say.

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