Historically, transportation has meant everything from Shank’s Pony to space travel. For those who don’t know, Shank’s Pony means your feet. Back in Grandma’s day, if she asked how she was going to get somewhere, the answer was usually Shank’s Pony—an answer she didn’t always appreciate. Even those who had cars often walked if it was a short distance.
In our urban society, nearly everyone drives now—or so we think. This has created limited options for those who do not drive. People who choose to walk as a main form of transportation find that drivers do not watch for or respect pedestrians. Cities almost need to put up signs. “Walk At Your Own Risk.” The same goes for bicycles. A person on a bicycle is a large object, right up there in the line of sight of your windshield, yet bike riders routinely find themselves in danger from inattentive drivers.
If you are ever unsure who has the right-of-way, follow this rule of thumb: It’s the little guy. Or the slower guy. If you are bigger, give way. Just because you drive a 2-ton bully truck does not mean you have more right to the road than the compact car. If you can squish it by hitting it, you should give way. If you are in any kind of vehicle, you’re bigger than the guy on foot or bicycle. Give him plenty of space and time. Even a motorcycle is bigger and heavier than a bicycle.
Now, this gets a little tricky when you compare a skinny guy on a bicycle to a fat man waddling up the sidewalk. The bicycle should still give way, because he’s faster. He can get out of the way quicker.
However, pedestrians should be polite. Do not dawdle down the center lane of a parking lot or street! Cars are faster than you and would very much like to go around. Do not jaywalk and expect cars to see you and stop. Respect goes two ways on the road.