Cali Crazy: A Texan’s take on the Golden State—part 4—Speed humps, crosswalks and men at work.

Californians

The way Californians see traffic and pedestrians is a funny thing. It’s like the way they look at guns and people—instead of teaching humans to handle cars and firearms with care and common sense, they discriminate against the very things that can’t learn a thing—vehicles.

Take this crosswalk conundrum, for instance. What makes more sense—requiring a driver to stop a 7,000-plus pound pickup truck for a lone pedestrian waiting at a crosswalk or for the pedestrian to wait ’til the coast is clear and cross without the danger of another driver in the far lane running ’em over?

It’s about momentum … and physics

Is it me, or don’t it seem like human nature to wanna keep the momentum going in a vehicle rather than stopping for someone who should have sense enough to cross when it’s safe? Humans can stop on a dime, but vehicles take a lot more coin to come to a halt.

By now, you where this is going … things are done a whole lot different in Texas.

It’s more like the Old West there than it is in the Old West here. Texans decide for themselves when to cross the road based on their trusty eyeballs. In California, people rely on laws that establish bipedal supremacy instead of using their noggins.

Californians

Speed humps? Follow me, Californians.

Then there are these silly California “speed humps.” Speed humps? Those are what you see at a dog park. Where I come from, speed humps are called speed BUMPS. But either way, they’re just as annoying. These pesky little mounds of asphalt not only slow you down, they really exercise your pedal patience.

In Texas, you might find a couple of ’em in a strip mall parking lot. But in some parts of California, they’re placed every 30 feet or so. I dunno—maybe the powers that be think the more you annoy drivers, the safer they drive.

And then you got the “Follow Me” escort trucks that state lawmakers think are necessary to “Pilot” people safely past men (and women) at work on roads, bridges and, in the Sierra Nevada, piles of fallen rock. Here’s a Texas tip—use a few traffic cones and put the guys or girls holding STOP signs to work to make things go faster.

Californians
I can see this road work system making sense on two-lane roads, but they seem to employ it for just about any road. And most times, there are four or five workers loitering around watching two people do the work, anyways. They must be unionized.

Too much of a good thing

Public safety is paramount around here. It takes precedence over—like so many other things in California—good sense and personal responsibility. Maybe this stuff is another way the smart folks in Sacramento protect us from ourselves.

Where I come from, people protect themselves by making smart pedestrian and traffic decisions. It’s like how we teach our kids: “Wait ’til there are no cars comin’, Tommy, then cross the road.” The only laws we need are the laws of physics—big, heavy machines take a lot longer to stop than itty-bitty people.

So, let ’em blow by, and go when it’s clear.

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