I write in consternation. Although I read your paper faithfully and make every effort to keep up with issues of importance to the people of our state, I somehow missed the news that the section of the motor vehicles and traffic law that accords the right of way to pedestrians crossing streets in marked crosswalks has been repealed.

I have deduced this from the behavior of drivers in Portland, who seem to be well aware of this change and are reveling in their newfound freedom to ignore any pedestrian foolish enough to think that crossing the street in a crosswalk, with a green light, should be sufficient to protect him or her from becoming a statistic.

Just this evening, for example, I was crossing Spring Street with the countdown clock showing ample time when a driver making a left turn from State Street sailed into the intersection, showing no indication that he planned to stop. I waved my hand and yelled to get his attention, adding: “Put down the phone and drive!” since he was clearly distracted by the cellphone he was holding to his ear. His response? He rolled down his window and bellowed: “Have another drink.”

I guess the rules of civility have gone out the window as well, but boorishness hasn’t – to my knowledge – ever killed someone. I hope that either the Legislature reinstates the right-of-way law for pedestrians in crosswalks, or, if it’s still on the books, offending drivers will be ticketed and fined heavily before someone is.

Ellen D. Murphy

Portland


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