Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Street is Not a Playground

One of the streets I drive on my way home from work is lined with duplexes. Because of the fact that the houses back up against the high school football field, they are reasonably priced. Families live there because of the lower rent and because the high school, a middle school and an elementary school are within walking distance. The nearest park is not within walking distance for small children, so many of them play in the street.

Yesterday, as I turned onto that street, there were three adults standing in the middle of it, talking. They moved aside, and I proceeded. Down the street, I could see a whole flock of kids on foot, on bikes, on skates and skateboards, revolving in slow circles around each other. There must have been a dozen or more of them. I was driving about 10 mph, and, as I approached the group, one of the smaller children fell off her bike. A bigger girl snagged the bike and was sitting on it, walking it around. She slowly inched toward the curb, as I sat and waited. Just as I took my foot off the brake, the little girl who had fallen, and who had been standing in the middle of the street, examining her knees for damage, ran right in front of me! Right in front! Fortunately, my car had not rolled more than a couple of inches, and she was safe.

Some of the kids had disappeared, but I saw them as soon as I turned round the 90 degree bend in the street. There were about four of them at the intersection where I had to turn right. When they saw me coming, they clustered towards the right hand side of the street, at the intersection. And just sat there, filling most of the lane. I had my turn signal on, and pulled to a stop.

I rolled down my passenger window and explained that Glenda Drive is a street, and that they need to get out of the way when cars are coming. One of the little girls (about eight or nine), told me they didn't see me. I responded that they need to keep an eye and an ear out for cars. She actually gave me some lip, repeating in a snotty tone that they were looking and still didn't see me. I informed her that, while my car is small, it is not invisible.

I was livid by the time I got home, and my front door may never be the same after the slam it got!

The only adults I saw were the ones clear up the other end of the street. There may have been adults watching from the front yards along the way, but my attention was focused on the kids in the street and I didn't see them if they were there. Neither did I hear anyone calling the kids out of the street.

There are a couple of other routes I could take, but this one is the shortest and I am really strapped for funds this month. I am trying to make a quarter of a tank of gas last as long as it possibly can.

Of course they must ride their bikes in the street...there is nowhere else close enough. However, they really do need to scatter to the curb as soon as a car approaches, and not deliberately block the way. I hope somebody teaches them that.


  1. Maybe you should just slowly drive down the street and if kids are seen in the street, keep blowing your horn til they move. If they cannot see you, surely they can hear you. lol I had an ooogah horn on my PT Cruiser that I could operate with my foot. It was loud. More than one kid probably wet their pants when they ignored me. I really cannot tolerate smart-ass kids/people.

  2. When I was little (a different time I know) my friends and I played in the street. Stickball, we used to set up skateboard jumps, kickball, etc.

    But we respected the cars. As soon as someone was coming it was all CAR CAR C A R, stick your head in a jellyjar and we got our stuff off the road and our collective asses off the road.

    This was ALSO a time where there was a mother in every other window watching out for us.

  3. I'm just thinking it will only get worse, and they're like 10 yr. olds? Around here, there are goups of teens that will block the road and start sh*t with you. They got into it with someone a few months ago and caused the car they were driving to crash into the little corner church. When the story aired on our local news, the article said the driver was chasing them with their car and they were just trying to cross the street. I hope it all came out later, since the local cops are familiar with several of them.