In Miami, We Don’t Stop for Pedestrians
The Rules in Miami are Always Different, and That Especially Applies to Pedestrian Right-of-Way
Chickens have more rights to cross the road than you do.
In Miami, drivers are more likely to stop for one of our many stray roosters than for a pedestrian. That is just how it works here. If you don’t like it, don’t come.
BEING ON FOOT DOESN’T MAKE YOU SPECIAL
Part of the charm of Miami is our abundance of Latin culture. And for the unaware, part of Latin culture is a set of driving rules that leaves little room for pedestrians. So if you came to Miami with the idea that people were going to yield to you in crosswalks, guess again.
Pedestrians in America seem to have a sort of sense of entitlement on the road. Like for some reason because they’re on foot, cars have to stop for them. Various pedestrian-friendly traffic laws are probably to blame for this, but whatever the cause it’s a pervasive attitude among walkers in this country. But like most things, in Miami we don’t do it like the rest of the country.
Turning right on a red? As long as there’s no cars go for it. Doesn’t matter if a family of five is trying to cross. If they live in Miami, they know to stop. Crosswalk without a stop sign? That’s what we in Miami call a colossal waste of street paint. Nobody’s slowing down, and cars are a lot bigger and faster than you. Chance it if you like, because you think you have some sort of “right of way.” But the consequences if you’re wrong aren’t worth trying us.
LAWLESSNESS = EFFICIENCY
Now some would complain and say this makes Miami a dangerous city. I say it actually helps us be more efficient. Traffic here – especially street traffic – is bad enough as it is. And what with the new red light cameras curtailing our trademark “Four to a Red’ move, it’s getting even slower. Could you imagine if our drivers had to wait for slow-moving tourists to cross the street too? We’d never get anywhere.
This is not to say that it is legal to ignore pedestrians in Miami. Technically, we have the same pedestrian-biased laws that your hometown does. The difference is here, they’re not really enforced. Recently, City Commissioner Marc “I Hate The Grove” Sarnoff has tried to increase enforcement in the City. But once traffic in this area becomes unmovable because of this “pedestrian friendliness” people may backlash.
And in Miami Beach, it’s still unheard-of. Pedestrians have a lot more options as to where to walk than drivers do as where to drive. In Miami, we understand that and for the most part give drivers preference.
So if you’re coming here and trying to cross the street, understand we’re not stopping for you. If you want to be safe, make sure no cars are anywhere nearby, then cross as fast as humanly possible. And never, EVER, hold up traffic so you can cross. That is just being a rude and inconsiderate visitor. Locals have places to be, please respect that. And enjoy your vacation!
Update: No Respect - Pedestrian Crossing on Brickell Avenue by Transit Miami Films - Watch the Video.
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