Pedestrians need to learn the rules of the sidewalk, and follow them

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Before I get into it, because believe me I’m going to get into it, I want to let all of you dear readers in on my confession. No, I don’t eat my own boogers and yes, I do occasionally sleep with the light on but that is beside the point. I confess to you, dearest readers, that I am an aggressive biker. Yes, I am that guy zooming by your elbow on Library Mall or weaving through pedestrian traffic crossing the crosswalk. I am an asshole, and I embrace it. This doesn’t make it right, though, and frankly at least I know that I am wrong. I just wanted my bias to be in the light before we get down to business.

Pedestrians need to learn how to walk. There, I said it. I am not talking to you, guy who crosses the street when the light hasn’t turned, or maybe the guy that crosses halfway between Mills and Charter, I’m not even mad about that. As long as it is done safely and without making anyone riding something faster than your crappy high school vans stop, I will sanction it. It’s those people who are just oblivious to anything that step out and then look shocked when they hear the squealing of brakes and the rougher side of my tongue. The texters, the talkers and, above all else, those jerks that just plain think they are king of the crossing because they are walking. Learn how to pedestrian, please.

For example, it was a gloomy day last week, and I was speeding down State Street to get to class at College Library. True to form, class had started five minutes ago, I went from bed to pants to door in about 30 seconds, and my stomach was growling like a jungle cat. I checked my speed and saw that at the intersection of Lake and State, there happened to be no cars queued waiting for the endless streams of students today. A rare occasion and I saw no one crossing, so I decided to go right through.

One of the good people of Madison standing on the street corner saw this. I caught a glimpse of the malice rising in his eyes as he spurned himself forward finger ostentatiously waving in the air. Readers, I kid you not, he practically screamed at me, “There is a stop sign!”

Gee, thanks. Didn’t catch that one, you know the one that has been there since the beginning of time, the bold red octagon that I slowed down for and consequently went through. I didn’t stop to give him a piece of my mind because, of course, he was correct. But the nerve of this guy, running out into the middle of the street just to tell me I’m wrong.

The fact of the matter is that it is an accepted norm in this city that pedestrians can do whatever they want, and the rest of us just have to groan and bear it the best we can. If anyone decides to try and correct most pedestrians, they get this look like a bunny caught in a cabbage patch and bolt, or their voice gets all nasally as they point their finger down and declare “I’m in a crosswalk.”

Educate, please! Yes, crosswalks are meant for protection but if you jump in front of a car in a crosswalk; First, you are still at fault and an idiot. And second, you probably are still going to be just as injured. I am a biker when the option is available, but I also walk, and I keep my head about me. In fact, I would hazard a guess that most students here are, at some point, any of the three options, and hate the other two while doing it.

All it takes is a little care and a few deep breaths, and everyone can get where they are going without being yelled at or almost run over. I am not advocating any of the three above the other; they are all wonderful options if they are available to you. All I am saying is that next time you come to an intersection, have you four wheels, two wheels, or none at all, remember your kindergarten training. Look both ways, and try to keep your head out of your butt.

Eli is a senior majoring in engineering. Are you an avid biker? Do you agree with his views on pedestrians? Are you an avid walker? How do you feel about bikers on campus? Please let us know what you think. Send all comments to

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