Nobody Walks in LA

walking street sign

I constantly go back and forth between loving and hating LA. When I have to drive somewhere at 4 p.m. on a weekday, I hate LA. When I go running at the beach on a perfect fall day, I absolutely love it here. But lately, it’s running that has made me go back to hating this god-forsaken place.

Being a pedestrian in LA means taking your life into your own hands. When I moved here 4-years ago I really wanted to believe that this was a walking neighborhood. We live near restaurants and shopping, bookstores, and coffee shops. Fabulous.

But just because I want this to be a walking neighborhood doesn’t mean the people driving in their cars care a hoot about that. And just because you’re pushing a stroller doesn’t mean anyone will stop their cars.

Once I had the boys in the double stroller and we stopped at a 4-way stop. I let a car go first, and then I started to walk. A man in a BMW (or some such car like it) hit the gas and then slammed on the brakes. “Women with kids always expect you to stop for them,” he shouted at me. Well, yes, asshole, when it’s my turn and I’m on foot and you’re in a car, I would expect you to stop.

You would think having kids in a stroller would stop people from yelling at you, but really it doesn’t. I think it makes some people more angry.

  1. Here are some tips if you see someone daring enough to walk or jog in LA.
  2. If you see someone in the crosswalk, slow down and come to a stop. Don’t speed up, make eye contact and shrug your shoulders while mouthing, “Sorry.”
  3. If the car to the left or right of you is stopped at a crosswalk it probably means someone is in the crosswalk. Once again, stop. Don’t speed up.
  4. If all cars are stopped at a crosswalk, don’t go into a street parking spot to get around the stopped cars. You could kill a pedestrian.
  5. If you do, in fact, run over a pedestrian stop the car. Don’t keep driving and hope no one saw you.
  6. If you are a pedestrian (I’m talking to you everyone in Santa Monica), don’t walk out into traffic without looking and then get mad when a car comes to a screeching halt. Watch where you’re going. You don’t want to give drivers more reason to hate you.

This post originally appeared in LA Moms Blog. I reposted this after two sad and infuriating incidents this week. A woman was trying to cross the street at a crosswalk while pushing her baby in a jog stroller. It took a few minutes for someone to stop for her in the closest southbound lane. It took a good 10 MINUTES for a car in the next southbound lane to stop. She was yelling at them to stop and people were honking, I’m not sure if at her or the other drivers. Two days later, I was jogging and tried to cross at the same crosswalk and no one stopped for quite a long time. What bothered me was when I stepped into the street (on the crosswalk) the car in the lane closest to me hit the gas and you could hear the engine. I get it, you don’t want to stop, but do you have to speed up?

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Comments: 3

  1. April July 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm Reply

    Did I ever tell you my mom once got hit and dragged 50 feet? She was walking WITH the light, and some asshole didn't even bother to look first! She had a broken neck and was in a halo brace for 6 months, but she came out of it better than ever. My grandfather and sister were also killed as pedestrians, so this subject is one that is close to my heart. And why my children have to endure my hard handgrip whenever we cross so much as a driveway!

  2. L.A. Story July 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm Reply

    I love to go for walks, but it's definitely hard in this city.

    April, I'm so sorry about your experience with this. I didn't know. I totally get the hard handgrip. I'm the same way with CC.

  3. MJ Tam July 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm Reply

    I visit LA very often. I have lots of family out there including my in-laws so we probably visit about 3 to 4x a year. Those are the times when I stressed out the most. We live in the city here in Chicago so we walked everywhere, but walking with 3 kids in your neck of the woods is almost crazy.

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