Cure ‘sidewalk rage’: Know the law

Commuting around campus is pretty intense, especially since VCU has acquired a throng of freshmen that seem to engulf the sidewalks everywhere. Over the past few weeks I have observed a surge in hurried commuting from one class to another.

Although about 70 percent of the student body are commuters, the increase in the amount of people on campus leads to an awareness of just how crowded VCU has become.

Of course, living in an impatient culture where we need to get somewhere as quickly as possible, and having more people in our way is just not going to work. Some people might give this the title “sidewalk rage.” To help people who have this, and help everyone in general, it is important to learn more efficient ways of getting around campus.

For instance, take the traffic laws of Richmond. Before I learned a little about them, I have to admit that I myself was part of the majority at VCU who are unaware of laws pedestrians and motorists can observe while negotiating Richmond traffic.

For the pedestrians, I recently learned that any street crossing with the large horizontal and vertical lines signifies that a pedestrian can always walk across it, even if they make traffic slow down or stop for them. Instead, people stay on the outskirts of the crossing, waiting for the cars to pass before venturing out.

I have most curiously observed this at the crossing on the corner of Franklin and Shafer Streets, where crowds of people wait for cars to pass by, sometimes as long as four or five minutes. During this time, even more people join the crowd, and by the time the last car passes, something reminiscent of two tidal waves rushing at one another takes place. The anticipation of the clash is imminent, and not a very pretty sight.

So it is important to know that yes, you can venture out on the crossing at the corner of Franklin and Shafer streets – and stop traffic – while still obeying the law.

Of course, it can get very dangerous if only one or two people start to cross and motorists appear who have no intention of slowing down. That’s why it takes numbers to enforce this right of crossing.

For motorists, I have learned that it is completely within the law to turn left while sitting at a red light on a one-way street. Far too often I have observed people who just sit at the red light, hoping it will eventually turn green.

It is amazing how crowded traffic can be in the morning on campus. Most of the people who constitute this bottleneck are those who are on their way to their jobs. But for the VCU student, the law can be very helpful to know in helping you get to class sooner.

Learning about these traffic laws has inspired me to become a more knowledgeable pedestrian and motorist, knowing what I can and cannot do on the streets of Richmond.

I would encourage others to read up on the Richmond traffic laws as well, as they are sure to help with those of you who are inflicted with “sidewalk rage,” and maybe road rage too – knowing the law will help for a more efficient and smoother commute for everyone.

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