Friday, March 11, 2011

Bang! Too Bad – It’s Just An Accident

Around 4 PM today I was walking along on a sidewalk when a young woman backing out of her driveway in a SUV almost struck me. Obviously she wasn’t looking, didn’t care. I was lucky; the only thing that was broken was my umbrella.

I contacted the Plattsburgh City PD and after a while an officer arrived on the scene. I explained the situation to the officer. I was walking down the sidewalk when the minivan sped out of the driveway. The driveway is over 20 feet long so she had plenty of room to build up speed.

I looked to my left side, spotted the vehicle, fell back, my umbrella clipping the minivan.

I yelled at the driver but she yelled back at me as if I was at fault. She wanted to get into a shouting match, maybe more, but I held back, deciding there was a better way to deal with the matter. (Or so I thought.) Then she left. A neighbor heard what happened and came out. The neighbor told me who the driver was someone who always backed out of the driveway at a good clip without looking.

Apparently the driver lives in the same apartment with people who have been disturbing the area with loud parties and a barking dog at night. Plus throw in the usual Plattsburgh decoration, dogshit.

I told the police officer that I had been putting up with the noise and dogshit problems for some time and didn’t bother to call, but this incident I couldn’t ignore.

According to NY State law, said the officer, he couldn’t do anything. It was just an accident. He said he couldn't give her a ticket for unsafe backing. From what I gathered I had more of a case if I pursued the noise violations. The officer said I could pursue the matter of my broken umbrella in small claims court.

I’m aware how law enforcement can be limited by its options at times. But still, if I had been hit, seriously injured or killed, it would just remain a little accident?

The incident occurred near the Oak Street Elementary School entrance on Margaret Street. Kids from that school do use the same sidewalk. The crosswalk from the school is just a few feet away from the driveway where I was almost hit.

Over the years there have been other incidents where I was almost struck by a careless driver. With each incident I had the right of way on a city crosswalk.

Motor vehicles operators are told to practice defensive driving. Pedestrians in Peeburgh should practice defensive walking.

The quick and the dead.

[Note: This post was revised at 6:34 PM, 3/11/11. Edited for clarity, typos fixed, other details added.]

1 comment: said...

It's your responsibility as a conscious pedestrian to watch out for people who aren't paying attention, and I think you misunderstood the City Police officer. If you get HIT by a CAR and it effects more than your wet weather wear, their is something to be done about it. However, since there is no laws currently protecting umbrellas, this situation isn't something the cops could help with.

I think you should run for city council.