Friday, October 9, 2009

Should police ticket pedestrians?

Should Woodstock Police ticket pedestrians walking in the roadway?

Wednesday night I was driving on Clay Street in the block where Christopher Foats was struck by a drunk driver and died. Signs there designate that street and remind drivers not to drive drunk.

As I drove north, a young man holding a cell phone to his ear was walking north in the northbound traffic lane about four feet out from the curb. The glare of headlights of oncoming traffic was fairly strong, and I had to slow and wait for them to pass before I could swing out and around the pedestrian. There is a sidewalk in the block where the pedestrian should have been walking.

I wonder ... do Woodstock Police ever ticket pedestrians walking in the roadway where there are sidewalks for their use? Clay Street is a problem area, where sometimes groups (gangs?) of boys (and girls, too) will walk fully in the traffic lane, side-by-side, as it daring drivers to hit them.

Education through polite stops and lectures may not solve this problem, because it's an "attitude" problem, not an inadvertent violation of a law. There is a sense of bravado and entitlement, when these kids mosey along in the street. The same with some of the young people on bicycles. As cars approach, they make little or no effort to yield their "playgrounds."

At the first contact, officers should issue written warnings, in order to create the "paper trail." Upon the next violation? Issue a ticket.


Frank said...

So a group of boys walking in the street is a gang? Give me a break!

I agree the police should cite them but why should the police give a written warning first? Those kids no exactly what they are doing!

Ryan said...


Sounds like your the with the sense of bravado and entitlement.

You have nothing else to do but bitch about this?

Gus said...

Ryan, it's a slow day.

I figured readers wouldn't want to read about cops drawing guns on homeless people without provocation, bullying them when they won't consent to being searched, or the likelihood of a false arrest lawsuit.

DownByTheRiver said...


This is my favorite game!

Whether it's on bikes or on foot, I have no problem with a "herd" in the street. For the most part, they'll cluster to the right, and I pass on the left.

Every so often though, it's a game to be played, and "I got game".

You'll often see them spread out when they know you're coming - and you'll see their sly little backward glances from time to time. GAME ON!

What I do is settle in behind the wheel in a casual pose, arm draped over the top of the passenger seat, continue on at a steady 25 MPH, and aim for the center of the street. I give them absolutely no sign that I've acknowledged their "game". All the while, mind you, my left foot is poised directly over the brake.

I just serenely cruise ahead and show absolutely no sign of acknowledgement whatsoever. When you get close enough, those directly in the center of the pack dive to their left and right to get out of the way. It's more fun when they're on bikes, as those peeling off left and right cut in front of their flanking friends and cause a pile-up on the street - which sometimes also happens with those on foot, particulary as they trip themselves up on their ridiculous "gangsta" jeans when they panic.

Occasionally, if it's an older crowd on foot that has greater discipline, a little toot on the horn may be necessary when you're right on their collective asses.

I waft on by at a steady 36 feet per second, with no apparent brake lights flashing, and you can see their mouths shaped into a collective "OH!" like little choir boys - "Oh, that f*cker is crazy!"

Yep, kiddies, some of us are as crazy as you are! LOL!

It's gratifying when you pass the same pack again at a later date - they do move out of the way!


DownByTheRiver said...

Another favorite of mine was foiling the "skitchers". "Skitching" used to be a favorite kiddie pastime back in the day. During a heavy snow, they would hide in close proximity to a stop sign. Once a car started forward, they would break from cover, run up and grab your bumper, hang onto it, and then let the car drag them for as far as was possible.

Mind you, the following only works with a rear-wheel drive car:

Coming up to one of these "skitching posts" in the neighborhood, I would brake and slow, as if stopping, then suddenly let up on the brake, twitch the wheel either left or right as needed, and floor the gas, rotating the rear of the car away from the kids, and thus sliding on sideways through the intersection at a speed they could not hope to match, foiling their attempt.


Gus said...

Sure thing, DBTR. Game on!

Now, add in a dark street; bright oncoming headlights; kids walking in the traffic lane "with" traffic; wearing dark clothing.

Of course, the cops get PO'ed when you call and reported kids walking in the street. Sometimes I wonder if they'd just rather clean up an injury accident or a fatality.

It's something that the cops should handle on their own recognition, without any need for a driver to call and report it.

I did see a while back that one Woodstock officer had written tickets one day for skateboarders in the street. A brave officer, that one. I'll bet he got ridiculed for it for a week.

Frank said...

Gus wrote,"Of course, the cops get PO'ed when you call and reported kids walking in the street."

As I mentioned in a post before, I know someones son who was ticketed for walking in the street. My only question is, how do you KNOW the cops get PO'ed when you call them? Did you ask them or something?