Dr. Leon James
Pedestrian rage is occasioned in most pedestrians when the others sharing the walkway ignore the rights of other pedestrians. If you observe pedestrian behavior in crowded places you can notice that about 20 percent of the users break various pedestrian norms. For example, they walk "upstream" to the flow of pedestrian traffic, which almost always goes by the norm "Walk on the right. Pass on the left, then hold to the right again."
People are used to this pattern, but there are conditions that make them forget, as for instance when they walk in a group, when they don't know where they are going, when they are foreign and use the wrong norms, etc.
The solution to pedestrian rage is to teach people how to a be a supportive pedestrian, which is a peaceful, non-competitive, and cooperative way of managing one's legs and body. Bumping into another pedestrian is an act of violence, sometimes premeditated. Some people perversely enjoy bothering others -- walking in opposition, talking out loud on the cell phone in crowded places, not adjusting their behavior to the convenience of others, etc. In order for this change in pedestrian personality to happen realistically we need to start teaching pedestrian norms to children in kindergarten, and every year thereafter.
Please view this article:
Drivers Against Pedestrians.
Article by Leon James and Diane Nahl (2000).
Articles on the Web about Pedestrians
Rages in general:
Observations on pedestrians by students of Dr. Leon James:
How to Avoid Pedestrian Rage
Stress-free, friendly, and safe crossing. How do we get to it?
Result: reduced stress, greater
safety, more civility or mutual support..
"Why should I resist blaming idiot drivers who endanger my life because they're too stupid to be aware of pedestrians in crosswalks?"
This illustrates a pedestrian attitude problem that has gotten thousands of pedestrians killed or injured last year, and again as many this year.
Make yourself face this: getting angry is stress producing. Who is making you angry?
That driver you call "idiot"? No. Wrong theory.
You are making yourself angry over that driver's behavior or mentality.
Therefore: It is you who is pumping up the stress by mentally churning up your emotions through the venting you're doing.
Venting your anger means feeling indignant at the driver, and wanting the driver to know that you're displeased, mad, shocked, or scared.
You can tell yourself this: it's worth giving up venting so that you can reduce your stress. Medical research shows that the stress from venting weakens your body's resistance to getting sick.
Equally important, giving up venting at drivers will improve your reasoning process about what's going on. You will reduce the risk of suddenly acting out and getting into serious trouble.
Giving up venting is not easy, even after you decide you want to. One trick I recommend:
ACT THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE
I call this the Castanza Technique after George in one
Seinfeld episode decided to say and act the opposite of what he
thinks. All of a sudden everybody liked him and he was very
Try this advice and you will be convinced that it works:
Your walking stress will be reduced if you don't vent your anger. By not venting, you discover alternative ways of handling normal pedestrian situations. You're happier, safer, and others are more happy with you!
At the same time you must walk with prudence and rationality:
Look before you step off the curb. Warn yourself that you are now entering a life threatening danger zone. Put on the weapons of intelligence to fight against this danger. Look to the left, look to the right. Now decide to step into the danger zone, or not yet.
You're walking in a marked area. The law says drivers must stop for you. No ambiguity about it. Whatever you do as a pedestrian in the danger zone, you have the right of way. And yet thousands of pedestrians get killed every year. This proves you cannot rely on the law to guarantee the driver's behavior.
You must rely on your own prudence and rationality.
Monitor your thoughts when crossing. Some pedestrians seem to look down as they walk in the marked crosswalk. Cars are approaching and they do not look at them. They just look down, expecting the driver to stop. Some pedestrians notice the cars approaching, but they continue walking slowly as if they are alone in their back yard. They act out ignoring the cars. This is pedestrian rage. It's passive aggressive pedestrian rage.
When cars approach you it's more intelligent and rational to hurry up. Motorists want to see pedestrians hurry up when the car is waiting before the marked crosswalk. By appearing to ignore the waiting cars, pedestrians intend to annoy the drivers. That's why it's called aggressive. It is also risky and dangerous. Remember the thousands of pedestrians that get hit by cars every year. See this statistical report for the facts. Quoting selectively from this report:
More Information on Pedestrian Safety
See this checklist for your community:
Perils for Pedestrians is the monthly cable television series that promotes safety for people who walk.
See a directory of newspaper articles on pedestrian safety: here.
Pedestrian Safety Advice from the Government -- NHTSA.
Google News on pedestrians: here.
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