Keep an eye out for local jaywalkers

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By Alice Du Pont

Anyone driving at night on West Jefferson Street in Quincy should use extra care. For the past few months I have noticed an increase in the number of pedestrians who want to cross the street in places that are not well lit. Just this past week I was approaching the light at the Pat Thomas Parkway intersection when a man wearing dark clothing crossed the street near the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant parking lot.

Not only was he jaywalking, he was zigzagging to cross. I saw a shadowy figure moving and, because of my past experiences in this vicinity and further west, I decided it might be a person. A few months ago my little niece asked my why they call it "jaywalking" when people cross the street illegally. I didn't know so we did the next best thing, we googled.

We found out that back when automobiles were invented and after traffic lights were in use, the term referred to a stupid person who didn’t know where to cross the street or someone from a rural area who was unaccustomed to city ways. At that time, he or she would cross the street, not at the intersection, but anywhere he or she decided to.

These people who attempt to dodge cars are sure putting a lot of faith and their lives in the hands of motorists. I guess they believe pedestrians have the right to cross any street where they choose and that could be true. But I would choose to cross at a properly labeled intersection. At least my chances are better there because drivers have to come to a stop.

And to pile on the stupidity, night jaywalkers have a penchant for wearing dark clothing. It's almost as if they're doing everything they can to make themselves blend with the night. The last thing I want to do is hit someone with my car. But really folks, if you must cross a street such as Jefferson, help the motorists out a bit. Wear light clothing and some sort of reflective tape.

I've never known anyone in Quincy to get a warning and certainly not a ticket for jaywalking. Maybe the police don't give them. I wonder what a jaywalking ticket would cost and if you got one, if you could successfully plead your case in traffic court well enough for a judge to throw it out?

I'm going to be extra careful as I drive on West Jefferson Street but pedestrians have a responsibility too – and that's to cross the street at intersections.

Send your comments to adupont@gadcotimes.com.