(Sunland, CA) Regular visitors to this site know that I am a sucker for weird news stories, which - in my mind - always seem to be the most human of all news items. I am also an afficianado of the average-person-getting-screwed-by-the-system story, which makes my blood boil.
This next story has both elements.
Mayvis Coyle, an 82-year old who uses a cane, was ticketed by a traffic cop for being to slow in crossing a street in this California town. The $114 citation was for "crossing against a don't-walk signal."
"I entered the crosswalk, it was green," said Coyle. "It turned red before I could get over. There he was, waiting, the motorcycle cop. He said, 'You're obstructing the flow of traffic.'"
Another resident of Sunland said that the crossing signals are quite quick.
"I can go halfway, then the light changes," said Edith Krause, 78. "I try my darndest to get to the other side without being killed."
It is not just the elderly who have difficulty crossing the street in the allotted time.
"It sucks," said Sara Johnson, 14, of Sunland. "When the light turns red, you can't cross the street."
Sgt. Mike Zaboski of the Valley Traffic Division told the LA Daily News that he could not comment on Coyle's ticket. The paper timed the signal at 20 seconds.
"Right now, pedestrian accidents are above normal," he said. "We're looking out for pedestrians - people who think they have carte blanche in crossing the street. I'd rather not have angry pedestrians, but I'd rather have them be alive."
I hope that we have not reached the point where, in our hurried lives, we cannot wait a few extra seconds for an old woman to cross the street.
What is more amazing is that no one in the city or police department has seen fit to intercede and get this February 15 ticket dismissed. The negative publicity from this story must certainly be creating headaches for the local governments.