[Carfreeliving] RE: [WalkSFers] Neighborhood Enforcement
Cheryl.Brinkman at McKesson.com
Wed Mar 9 16:38:48 MST 2005
Car-thwaker tm !
The best car hating minds in SF sat down for a few beers and came up
with this easy to assemble device that can be used to gently remind cars
of your pedestrian right-of-way (Actual credit goes to one person who
shall remain nameless unless self identified).
My initial intent was to put the fear of pedestrians into drivers, as
they have put the fear of cars into we pedestrians. Hitting and kicking
are too personal, and dangerous. When crossing roads in Berkeley on my
way from BART to a friend's place, I found that if I swing my backpack
in wild circles as I cross the uncontrolled but for faded crosswalks
streets, the cars yield. Yes, I look like an idiot, but they stop, not
wanting the metal buckles of my trendy black backpack to hit them and
possibly ding their several thousand pounds of expensive metal.
What, these fantastic car hating minds drinking beer asked themselves,
what could we carry that would be light, not too silly, not too
destructive (golf clubs were ruled out on two counts, silly and
destructive), and be cheap and easy to make?
And so the Car Thwaker tm was born.
Basic version: Take an old bicycle inner tube (see, already you love
this - it's recycling too!), cut a length about two feet long, or more
if you like for better reach - I mean - for greater visibility. Get a
small rock about 1 inch long or so, and put it inside the inner tube at
one end. Either sew or tie the inner tube above and below the rock. Taa
daa! Car thwaker tm. You need only to swing this in circles as you
cross - the actual gentle tapping of car hoods, trunks, or quarter
panels with the Car Thwaker tm is not recommended - although it will
gently remind drivers of your presence and bring them back to reality
from the world of cell phones, speeding, and running stop signs and red
lights. I find a forward motion swing works best, but you may find you
prefer back-hand swinging.
The dee-luxe version of the Car Thwaker tm includes actual sewing, and a
reflective strip of material for night time use: as you swing the
dee-luxe Car Thwaker tm in circles it will certainly attract the
admiration of drivers, presenting a colorful nighttime light show. A
bright pom pom or ribbon achieves the same effect for day time. Be
creative! - your Car Thwaker tm can become a personal expression of your
love of walking, and your intent not to be bullied by drivers.
So, save your old bike inner tubes and bring them to the next car free
happy hour - I will turn them into Car Thwakers tm, and send them out
into the world to spread love and safety.
This morning I paid particular attention to the driving habits of people
in the Haight and Inner Sunset. After dodging a few cars at corners I
could see that drivers have little respect for pedestrian right of ways.
At best we are obstacles to their destination, at worst we aren't seen
at all evidenced by that tragic scene in Vallejo when two kids are hit
in a crosswalk because the driver didn't see them.
Why is this so? First of all there is virtually no enforcement of
traffic laws in my neighborhood. Drivers can speed, run stop signs, not
stop for pedestrians, make dangerous driving maneuvers or anything else
with little or no legal consequences. When is the last time you saw a
driver ticketed for any of the aforementioned activities?
I don't know the answer for this type of behavior, but it sure is making
me more fearful about being a pedestrian. I often do not cross at a
corner because there are too many directions for cars to hit me.
Crossing mid street seems less dangerous because there are only two
directions they can get me and I can look both ways and wait for the
traffic to clear. What's a person to do?
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