Last evening, driving in Annapolis at about 6:00 pm, I encountered a situation that could have proved fatal, and I would have been held accountable. The sun had set, it was getting pretty dark, and while driving on West street, I approached a traffic circle. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m hyper alert at traffic circles. I have to determine whether or not the vehicles in the circle are continuing around, turning off, or … well, we hope there is no “or”. In my hyper alert state, I’m only hyper alert for vehicles. Suddenly, a dark shadow is in front of me, moving quickly. While hitting the brakes, I notice a man wearing a black wool coat, dark pants, dark shoes, and dark gloves. Actually, the only way I notice this man is because of this vague shadow and the reflected light on his face. I stop short of the intersection. He has dashed nearly to the curb and now turns to throw curses at me, pointing at the crosswalk. Yes, the law is that a vehicle yields to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. His was righteous indignation that I did not stop when he stepped into the crosswalk.
I’m constantly aware of pedestrians wearing dark clothing at or after dusk in these parts. A girl was killed crossing the highway with a bicycle two days ago less than a mile from my home. She was walking her bike across the road, but had no reflective gear/clothing. Within the past week, I nearly clipped a pedestrian wearing dark clothing walking along the side of a dark narrow street. And last night’s incident was even closer. Usually I’m pretty vigalant about these things.
Was the righteous indignation justified? Had the pedestrian been able to see through my experience, maybe there would have been different assumptions. Disaster averted. Be careful out there … drivers and pedestrians.