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Editor's Desk // Column
Don Chapman

Idiot Drivers, Idiot Walkers: Bad Mix

A middle-age guy exits a store into the parking lot, studying his sales receipt, and walks directly into my path. I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him. He gives me the stink eye …

A traffic light turns green and I start into the crosswalk leaving Ward Centre. A teen girl ignores the “Don’t Walk” sign and steps directly into my path. I hit the brakes to avoid hitting her. She flips me off …

An octogenarian male crosses Bishop Street in mid-block to avoid walking another 20 yards to a crosswalk. I hit the brakes to let him pass, and hope I don’t get rear-ended. He smiles and waves, not looking to see if cars are approaching in other lanes …

In the parking garage at work, I round a corner and have to slam on the brakes because a young employee of our company is engrossed in something on her cell phone and walks directly into my path. I hit the brakes to avoid hitting her. She never looks up …

A homeless guy pushes his shopping cart down the right-hand lane of Queen Street, drifting left. I slow, edge past. He keeps talking to himself …

So it goes on the pavement of Honolulu. Having been hit by a car in a crosswalk just outside Hawaii Theatre a few years ago, I am fully on the side of pedestrian safety and encouraging drivers to slow down and be courteous to folks on foot.

But while our roads are filled with idiot drivers, I’m seeing more and more idiot walkers. Talk about an endangered species. It makes you wonder, do they all have a death wish? Or what, exactly?

I don’t want to sermonize here. All I’ll say is that when my kids were growing up, one of my parental mantras was “just pay attention to what’s going on around you” – both for personal safety and as a way of learning the ways of the world.

Bottom line is, you don’t want to put your life in the hands of, say, the young woman driver with a phone in one hand and a bag of fast-food french fries in the other, who over the course of three blocks on Beretania Street last Wednesday almost swerved into me three times. Heaven help the pedestrian who stepped into her path.

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