Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 20, 2020

Look both ways before you cross the street, seriously

By JHU CONFESSIONS | September 20, 2012

Those yellow (and white) shoes on the corner of St. Paul and 33rd are among the coolest things I’ve seen in the area. The crossing guard, however, is not. The crossing guard at that intersection allows pedestrians to cross the street against the light. The officer will stop the flow of traffic in order to accommodate students.

And people wonder why native Baltimoreans dislike Hopkins students? The number of times I have seen a student cross the street while fiddling with his or her iPhone or some other gadget is outrageous. They don’t look before they cross and certainly not during. They think it is entirely a driver’s job to not hit them. Drivers do what they can but if they have a green light on St. Paul and you decide that you really need to cross the street to get to Subway, you’re going to be interrupting traffic. I don’t know how long it takes, but waiting for the light is worth it. If you get hit by a car, you want to make sure you were doing everything properly. While legally it is always the driver’s fault, it makes you look bad if you were, say, just crossing in the middle of the street and not in the crosswalk. I know it seems ridiculous to walk to the corner, but if there are cars coming, don’t cross. Don’t bolt across the street. It scares the daylights out of drivers.

We all carry a certain amount of arrogance by being at Hopkins (some more loudly than others). We have earned our ways here. We get to walk wherever we want on campus. We own it. St. Paul is not, I repeat, NOT a part of campus. Drivers who hit you are going to feel far less remorse if you’re strolling across St. Paul between 32nd and 33rd and angrily texting someone about the night before.

“They came out of nowhere!”

“I didn’t see them!”

These sound like excuses in court, but a driver might actually have that desperate reaction if a person just appears from the row of parked cars and meanders in front of them.

A friend of a friend was hit by a bus. She was crossing safely on the crosswalk, having looked both ways. She had the light, the right of way, and had almost reached the sidewalk. The bus was making a right turn and was “too busy watching his back tire” to notice that he ran her over. She was dead before the paramedics got there. She did everything she was supposed to, but the driver was being negligent. In that moment, it was  out of her hands.

I knew Nathan Krasnopoler, the boy who was struck down while riding his bicycle in the bike lane up University Parkway. Both people were doing exactly what they were supposed to. Accidents happen.

But that doesn’t give you the right to completely ignore traffic rules. Rules are put in place for a reason. Your life is in your hands. Yes, drivers will try not to hit you, but when you’re in a thousand-pound metal machine going 30 mph down a street where all the lights are green, it is hard to slam on the brakes fast enough to not hit kids who have their headphones in and music turned up so loud that they can’t hear a horn. And crossing (illegally) with a mob of people doesn’t make it “safer.” It is incredibly disrespectful to drivers.

“But drivers talk on their phones all the time!”

Yes, and they are disrespectful jerks as well. It is our job to keep ourselves safe. This isn’t victim-blaming. This is trying to get people to understand that there are rules out there to keep us from getting hurt.

So please, try to obey them.

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