Has anyone noticed that young pedestrians almost seem to challenge drivers to try and hit them? 

(Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

I can’t tell you how many times I have driven in my neighborhood and others only to find teen-agers (and younger) walking in the middle of the street. Even those that are walking towards you will refuse to step to the side of the road and instead force you to swerve around them.  This can be problematic when a car is coming from the opposite direction or if there are vehicles parked on the side of the road but the walkers don’t seem to care.

On more than one occasion I have stopped and said something to the kids, who at times are on bikes or skateboards and you can imagine the response I got.  So last night while driving home I not only stopped but go out of my car when a group of three young teenagers made it nearly impossible for me to go around them as they were spread out and taking up pretty much the entire street.

The exchange went something like this:

“Hey I don’t want to sound like some grumpy old guy but you have to move when you see a car coming.”  Response….”No we don’t, you can go around us.”

“Sure that sounds cool except there are cars parked on the side you’re taking up the whole street.”  Finally a girl about 14 or so said “Tough…go up another street.” 

At this point you know what I want to say and do but for once I shut my mouth and act like an adult.  As I go past them I do shake my head in disgust and notice they are all laughing.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago when talking about crosswalks, drivers, pedestrians and even those on bicycles all have to share the road and respect one another.  But I will be honest in that when driving you have greater responsibility and sometimes few options.  Walkers can’t just assume you will stop or go around them and many on bicycles could care less about rules and courtesy.

It’s not hard to see why there are a fair number of accidents involving the three and frankly I’m surprised there are not more.  Of course it would help if we had bicycle lanes and more sidewalks but that’s not going to happen.  Respect is the only solution and truthfully there’s not a whole lot of that these days.