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Friday, August 2nd, 2013, 04:11 PM | Updated: 08/02/2013, 04:11:17 PM | (Anonymous) [0 Comments]

As I provide dog-walking services around UTC/La Jolla and nearby neighborhoods of San Diego, I have observed a disturbing trend.  The pattern doesn’t originate with my four-legged clients, but rather with motorists on our local roads.  I’ll get right to the point.  A substantial number of motorists in the neighborhoods I frequent disregard the electronic walk signs for pedestrians and do not yield the right of way to individuals in the roadway.  Specifically, an increasing number of motorists seem to think it is okay to drive around a pedestrian who is in a marked crosswalk with the electronic “white hand” sign flashing.   It should be common knowledge that this walk sign indicates that it is safe for pedestrians to cross the street.  Furthermore, when this walk sign flashes, drivers are expected to come to a complete stop and allow pedestrians to pass. 

What I see happen more often than not is that when I step off the curb with one or more dogs by my side, motorists do not completely stop.  Rather they tend to slow down or coast, edging forward in order to make the light before it turns red.  If they think they can make their turn prior to me getting close, they go for it.  So often, I’ve had cars skirt in front of me, behind me or take some other creative path around me just so they can get through the intersection.   On one occasion, a motorist actually honked his horn as a call that I should pick up my dog-walking pace [let it be known that I am not a slow pedestrian].  It is disappointing to admit it, but I’ve even seen San Diego police cruisers (clearly not in an emergency situation) engage in these around-about-the-dog-walker maneuvers.

Let me shift gears for a minute!  Pedestrians walking dogs have to be especially careful; not only do we have to look out for ourselves, but we also have to hold onto our dogs’ leashes and be cognizant of the dogs’ exact positions as we cross the street.  Imagine having to factor in another variable to this equation: that of moving vehicles.  The situation immediately becomes fraught with potential danger. 

In my dog-walking experience, there are some pets that get frightened by all the sounds and activity around them as they walk across a busy street.  It can be challenging for a dog-walker to respond to (and help manage) a pet’s emotions and reactions under these circumstances.

And so I urge our local motorists to not only follow traffic laws but also practice common courtesy while on the road.  When you see a pedestrian with dogs crossing the street, please allow the person and his/her pets to make it safely across before accelerating forward.  Kindly put down your cell phones and wait to have your conversations at another time when you can them give your full attention.   If you arrive at your destination a few minutes later than anticipated, your life will go on.  But if you cut corners and try to get around pedestrians, you may injure a human and/or a pet.  I hope that we can all still agree that there is nothing more precious than life.  This includes human life and the lives of our pets.

Thank you!

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