Pedestrians: The new roadkill

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

June 23rd, 2010 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

You gotta love LA. Drivers in shiny tanks and SUVs that take up the entire street, whipping around neighborhoods at freeway speeds, careening in and out of driveways like they’re entering racetracks, driving with their high beams not only at night, beneath the ample city lights, but during the daytime, in the blinding summer sun.

Apparently they really need that extra light, because they just can’t seem to see pedestrians, or if they do see them, it must be in the blink of an eye. Because before those unsuspecting peds are done crossing in front of the car, the driver is already gunning up the engine and proceeding to speed across the intersection.

Which is why I was being super duper careful yesterday, when I biked to the bank. Rather than driving through a busy intersection with the cars and hazarding a left-hand turn, I made sure to cross with the light, using the crosswalk. On my way back from the bank, I toyed with the idea of jetting across the street mid-point but stopped, telling myself to play it safe.

“Well there’s a reason not to go against the light,” I thought, as a group of cars turned left and jetted across where I would have been biking. After the cars passed, the light turned green, with its little walking stick figure. So I put my right foot back on the pedal and proceeded to bike across. Before I had the chance to raise my head from looking at the pedal, I heard a horrific screeching sound – a car, I knew instinctively, about to slam into me.

I let out a terrified, high-pitched scream. The black Mercedes SUV slammed to a halt just in front of me. I was frozen in fear. Not three seconds had gone by when an older man gestured at me, yelling, “Just move!” in an irritated tone, as he crossed the street in my direction.

I paused and caught my breath, looking at the woman in the SUV. A blown-up Barbie boll. Just like Barbie, her face had as much expression as plastic. She just sat there, stone cold, as if nothing had happened. No remorse, no apology, no emotion period. She just sat there in her big fat SUV, in front of my bike.

Once I’d caught my breath, I put my foot back on the pedal and began to cross the street. At that moment, the SUV began moving toward me. I jerked to a halt. “Stop!” I yelled, waving my hands. “Stop!” She stopped, still expressionless, still looking straight at me. “What the hell are you doing?!” I yelled angrily as I biked past her window.

I was shaking all the way home.

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