Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers)
This article first appeared in the June 10, 2009 edition of The Somerville News.
As a nosey, Somerville loving loudmouth who always adds his two cents, whether anyone wants to hear it or not, here comes about $500 worth of gripes.
It’s hard enough driving in the first place, but when a jogger is running toward you in traffic, that is just plain treacherous. First, you have to swerve away from him or her because, well, it’s a natural reaction. This poses the problem of swerving into the oncoming traffic, thus scarring the hell out of the driver in the other lane.
WHY? Why do you people want to give us drivers heart attacks? Some of you city sprinters choose to run in the middle of the two lines of traffic. This is not a smart idea either. You are obviously trying to take care of yourselves by exercising, and that’s great – but what if you get clipped by a car? They’ll be saying, “It’s such a shame he’s gone, but boy, wasn’t he in great physical shape?” You could also be the cause of a horrific car accident with drivers nervously trying you avoid hitting you and hitting other cars. It’s time you exercise nuts used some consideration and think of the safety of others while toning your bodies. You could always join a gym! There has to be a reasonable and intelligent co-existence between jogger and driver.
Now, let’s discuss you gas saving, green conscious cyclers. God love ya! Can you try to stay a little closer to the parked side of the street, please? I know it’s difficult and I’ve said it before, but please remember that it’s hard to stop our vehicles on a dime. Some of you bikers taunt us drivers, but we really are just trying not to hit you. Honest! The blinking lights and florescent strips at night really help too, thank you. When I see a bicycle heading toward me, I start sweating profusely. You are taking precious moments off of my life. Please stop trying to take me out. We have to share the road, and we all want to enjoy old age. And do I even have to mention the granddaddy of all drivers’ nightmares? It’s those cyclers who are towing junior behind them in those canvas rickshaw thingies. God help us!
Now, let’s talk about you speeders and tailgaters. Slow the hell down! There are kids everywhere. And most of you nuts who are driving like “Speed Racer” down residential streets are on your cell phones or applying make-up. Do you know why they call them cell phones? It’s because, God forbid, if you hurt someone, you’ll end up in a cell. There was an old guy years ago who would throw rotten apples at speeding cars. Ah, the good old days. And just a word to you out of state drivers who are habitual tailgaters. Haven’t you caught on yet? The closer you are to a Somerville driver’s car, the slower we go. Come on, get with the program.
One more word to pedestrians, of which I am proudly one and want to stay one: You must make sure the driver acknowledges that he sees you before you proceed into the crosswalk. I used to do this myself, but I’ve really smartened up lately. I just told you about speeders and cell phone talking drivers. Do not assume that just because it is a crosswalk that a driver is going to stop. Sometimes they are not paying attention, and sometimes the drivers are not aware that there is in fact a crosswalk. Make sure they see you! Take that extra safe second to actually make sure the car slows down before you walk across the street. Drivers are often preoccupied and distracted by kids in the car or other things. Also, if you just dart across the street willy-nilly, tossing caution to the wind, that’s very foolish. Some cars take an awful long time to stop, even if they DO see you. If their brakes are bad, well, that just makes it worse. Believe me no driver wants to hurt a pedestrian, so please help us out. A mother or dad who is driving a mini-van full of excited kids deserves a break. Do not assume that they will see you. And bikers, lose the iPods and headphones, and pay attention.
Bottom line, let’s all strive for a safer Somerville. Drivers, slow down and get off the cell phones. Joggers and bikers, let’s co-exist in harmony. By the way, Somerville has an awesome bike path available!