It is difficult to get around Minneapolis/St. Paul these days. (I’m not sure what is going on out in the suburbs and, frankly, I don’t care.) Some people appear to be blissfully clueless about this fact and others seem unprepared to deal with it. The combination of the two make a difficult situation worse for seasoned clued-in Minnesotans. So some tips.
First, don’t wander out into the crosswalk or off the curb until you know you want to actually cross the street. Standing on the edge of traffic seems to indicate that you might think about crossing. Stopping, starting, stopping again, and doing a loop or two only makes drivers want to hit you more. Stay on the curb if you’re going to chat with your friends. You can decide where to meet for coffee on the sidewalk. In short…keep moving or get out of the way.
The second tip is directed at joggers and to a lesser extent bicyclists. Joggers: Why do you choose the city’s busiest streets for your morning jog? There really isn’t room for us to admire your spandex gait even during the less snowy summer months, but when four lanes have been narrowed to two-and-a-half, please…jog elsewhere.
Kind of the same thought for bicyclists. I rarely see bikes stop for stop lights and stop signs anyway so why do they choose the main roads to ride on when one block over is an empty lane only held up by stop signs they will ignore? Roll through the signs. I’m all for it. (Really.) Winter or in the less-snowy months of summer. Either or. But especially now — when four lanes are down to one-and-a-half — it is hard to get around you.
I WILL give bicyclists this, however, they need plowed roads to move on. So I understand, but I’ll complain anyway. All in all, I like bicyclists, even if they give me the finger once in a while.
Tip for New Winter Walkers: DO NOT WALK LIKE A PENGUIN. You’ll fall over and hurt yourself. The best advice for walking on slippery surfaces is to keep your step light and moving. Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. You need your hands free so you can move your arms for balance. Plus, if you fall while your hands are in your pockets, you’ll get hurt. You want your hands to grab on to something or brace your fall.
Another tip for winter walkers: As long as your feet are below you, you have a chance. You might look like a cartoon character ready chase a roadrunner with your feet spinning a jig, but as long as they are moving and stay below you, there’s a good chance you’ll stay upright. That’s what matters. If you try to lock up to stable up, you’ll topple. (You should never feel your butt clench when walking on ice.)
Finally, learn from experience. Crusty ice might be safer than a cleared sidewalk with a light coating of snow, for example…in fact, it often is. But that’s not the kind of experience I am talking about. Learn from the experience of fellow walkers AHEAD of you. If you see fellow pedestrians falling on the corner ahead of you, take notes.
I hope this bonus post was helpful. Back to my eggnog.
- Pedestrian safety is a two-way street (theglobeandmail.com)
- December Most Dangerous Month For Pedestrians (sfist.com)