Wave pedestrian flag – and be alert

Susan Tripp
Friday December 21, 2001


In 40 years of living in Berkeley, I have noticed that the pedestrian/car ratio is shifting, and that street practices are becoming more like New York. In that city, pedestrians know that they are unprotected. When they cross, they are extremely vigilant. 

Bay Area pedestrians often presuppose that they always have the right of way. 

Pedestrians with babies in strollers even wait with the stroller in the street, where a turning car might suddenly come. 

I have invented my own form of a flag, white paper to wave in front of me at night, while still watching and waiting. The most dangerous crossings are those where many drivers make turns, such as Hearst and Shattuck. At Bancroft and Oxford a bus turning north nearly ran down a man with a white cane who had stepped into the street. 

The orange flags will help only if the user waves the flag way out in front, since rapid motion catches attention. 

But even that is useless if the driver is looking away. 

Ultimately it is always the pedestrian who has to keep alert, as we become more and more like New York 

Susan Tripp