Bay Area drivers sometimes seem to be operating according to what amounts to an unwritten handbook of how to drive poorly. The agreed-upon rules seem quite simple:
- 4-way stop signs are just a suggestion.
- Turn signals are optional.
- Cellphones should be used only when you are driving.
- Text messaging should be done only when you are driving in rush hour traffic.
- Please drive 5-10 miles below the speed limit, but only when you are in the passing lane.
- Passing should only be done on the right.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that these unwritten rules have made crossing the streets a nightmare for pedestrians. The man in this drawing was nearly run down by a minivan while he was attempting to use a crosswalk on San Pablo, near Stanford Ave.The driver of the minivan was talking animatedly on her cellphone and did not seem to notice the man who was making his way across the road. You’ll notice that the left arm in this drawing (his left arm) is extended, but the hand is off the page. That was the hand with which he responded to this near miss, with a vulgar gesture that the driver did notice, and to which she responded with a vulgar gesture of her own. With one hand making a gesture and the other one holding her cellphone, I’m not sure what she was using to steer!