Here in Maine, we generally like to take things at a slower pace. However, even here, there are days when you see some folks rushing about doing "things that make you go hmmmm." Yesterday was one of those days for me. With school starting and more kiddos on the sidewalks, and the events of yesterday, I realized a review of Maine pedestrian/vehicle laws and practicalities was in order.
While traveling up Court Street in Auburn, a 25mph road heading through a residential neighborhood, I could see up ahead a group of teenagers waiting patiently to cross. I was at least 250 feet away, and the last bit of traffic coming in the other direction had just passed so I slowed and then stopped anticipating that they may take this moment to cross. They did. Then, bounding over the crest of the hill, came a speeding car. I know the driver must have seen the kids crossing because he blasted his horn all the way down the hill. The teens were forced to stop in the middle of the road and let the car pass. At first, I thought that maybe the car's brakes were not functioning, but then I noticed that he was able to come to a stop at the intersection below.
REMINDER TO DRIVERS!!!!!!
Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way in Maine! You are required to stop (in either direction) until they have fully crossed the street.
AND guess what? Even if a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, you are required to "exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian."
No, these kids were not in a crosswalk. Why? Because there are no crosswalks in that area. Crosswalks are nice, but we shouldn't need little stripes on the road in order to have consideration for others and use our own common sense to avoid hitting pedestrians.
On the flip side, these kids seemed to realize the same thing that I always tell my son. Even if you are in a crosswalk, when car meets pedestrian, the pedestrian loses. So let's show a little common sense and common decency on both sides.
I can just see how this one would have played out in court if the kids hadn't been so quick to react and avoid a horrific scene.
Driver: "Your honor, they were not in a crosswalk."
Judge: "Did you see the children crossing the road?"
Driver: "Yes, but they were not in a crosswalk."
Judge: "Did you have time to safely stop when you saw the children crossing the road?"
Driver: "Yes, but they were not in a crosswalk"
Judge: "Did you know that your half ton truck traveling at 35mph would most likely kill and at least injure the children crossing the road if you struck them?"
Driver: "Yes, but....
Judge: "So you saw the children, you had plenty of time to safely stop and avoid hitting them, you knew you could kill them, and you chose to keep going anyway?"
CASE CLOSED, and welcome to your new cell for the next 10-20 years!