08-14-08 - 3

It's really weird to me how Seattle pedestrians wait at red lights. I find myself stopping here just because everyone else is, and then I realize WTF not a single car is coming, why am I waiting? Nobody in SF waits at lights. Partly it's because people in SF commute by foot, and waiting at lights greatly lengthens your commute, but it's also kind of a safety thing. Walking in SF I've learned to basically ignore the lights and just watch the cars. A green light does not mean it's safe to go - there are people turning with no signal, people running lights, etc. So you ingore the greens and reds and just watch the cars and go when it's safe.

Biking in SF I learned the trick of watching the people inside the cars. I've long known the trick of watching the car's posture - you can see them accelerate, deccelerate, people edge to one side or the other before turning, you can see which way the wheels are pointing, etc. - but in SF for the first time I really started looking through car windows to see the people inside. You don't trust anything, you don't rely on the lights or your own obeying the law to keep you safe. This often leads you to break the law, because your obeying the law has little to do with your safety.

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old rants