That is the question.
Crossing the street should not be considered an art, but in Ireland it is. Ireland is full of back roads that the drivers speed around as if they are in “The Fast and the Furious.”
“Are they coming?” is a common question to ask when looking to cross the road. One-way streets are great because the cars can only go in one direction, but they also mangle the art of crossing the road. If in fact the cars are not coming in your direction and they are on a one-way street, it is of course safe to cross the road. However, just because cars are not coming in your direction does not mean that you should take your time getting to the other side.
On countless occasions, I looked to see if cars were coming and saw the road to be clear. I then meandered my way to the other side of the street only to be scared out my mind as drivers honked their horns letting me know that they were speeding in my direction. The only thing to do in that moment is blurt out a few cusswords and sprint to safety. Once safely in the median or on the sidewalk, I catch my breath, gather my thoughts, and swear to never do that again. This happens more often than I care to admit.
Pedestrians assume that because this is a one-way street, they will realize when 20 cars are zooming toward them from one direction. However, they don’t always notice the on coming cars. My advice would be to keep crossing the road like normal. Stop, check the street, watch for cars, and cross when you feel safe, but get to the other side! Don’t meander around.
The Irish drivers cannot be held accountable to follow the laws of the road. If the speed limit is 50 kilometers per hour, expect them to go 70 kilometers per hour. If the drivers see a red light ahead, do not expect them to stop or even slow down until the very last second. If the drivers come to a curve, expect them to wind around it as if they were in a Nascar race. The crosswalk man may be green as you start into it, but turn red at the last moment. If that happens, run. The drivers do not wait for you to safely get to the other side. Their light has turned green and you are nothing but in their way. Even the double-decker buses don’t look out for pedestrians. Sprint if you are trying to cross the street and realize one of those bad boys are headed in your direction.
The motorists are not intentionally trying to scare the dickens out of you, but that does not mean that they won’t use their vehicles to their advantage. If you are in their way, the drivers will let you know. All you can do is move faster and watch out next time. I promise, you’re not the crazy one.
With all of this in mind, crossing the road can become quite the hit or miss. It is either a peaceful stroll from one sidewalk to another or a run for dear life from oncoming traffic. My crossing-the-street to almost-hit-ratio is a lot higher than I expected it to be, but I am slowly learning.
The Irish have crossing the street down to an art. They possess the ability to weave between vehicles and dive out of the way of oncoming traffic. Maybe one day I will get the hang of it too.
This was one of my columns that I submitted to the Times-Georgian back home in Carrollton, GA! If you enjoyed it, please check out my other columns HERE. Also, have a click around the site and see some of the area I grew up in.