Forget what you learned. Red does not mean stop. Green means go. Yellow means go faster. Red? It means go too.
When I first arrived in this new world called New York, I was flummoxed by the sheer amount of people jaywalking. Old, young, woman, man, and child. It didn’t matter. It seemed like no one stopped at a red light. I’ve even seen elderly people with canes and walkers ease their way through an intersection, red light be damned.
So I thought I would follow suit, only to be almost flattened by a yellow taxi in Midtown. By the way, yellow taxis are evil. Thank you friend who saved my life and snatched me back.
Despite a recent initiative to protect pedestrians, people still jaywalk. It’s simply engrained and is very much a part of New York City culture. Still, like everything in this life, there are rules. Take note.
Be smart about it. You are not a human Frogger. Don’t pretend to be. It makes no sense to dash across multiple lanes of heavy traffic. Someone will hit you and probably won’t stop. Seriously hit and runs are a regular occurence here.
If you cross multiple lanes (more than two) and there’s a median, stop there, check the flow of traffic and proceed if it’s safe to do so.
Don’t do it with children. This is a personal rule of mine that should go for everyone. It’s annoying to see people jaywalking with strollers or toddlers. They cannot move fast enough for one, and two, teaches then a really bad habit. Yes, I’m on that do as I say not as I do kick. When traveling with the wee ones, yes, red does mean stop.
Step back. That is if you want to keep your toes. In order to cross against the light, you may have to step into the street a bit to see past parked cars and delivery trucks.
Don’t step too far into the intersection while doing this to avoid being hit. I’ve never seen anybody be hit thankfully but I have seen way too many close calls. If you have to creep all the way in the middle of the street to cross then maybe you need to just wait for that light.
Proceed with caution.