Streetfilms: Drivers Behaving Rudely

San Franciscans and New Yorkers have a lot in common when it comes navigating the mess of threatening autos on the streets. In my neighborhood near Polk Street, I’ve recently noticed a lot more aggressive drivers skirting the law, blocking crosswalks, failing to yield, and honking for no good reason.

In this latest Streetfilm from my colleague Clarence Eckerson, Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton hits the streets of New York to illustrate how rampant the violations are, every day, every hour, in nearly every corner of the city:

Gorton points out that most drivers are not bad or mean people, but few seem to realize how their conduct behind the wheel inconveniences and endangers pedestrians. It’s a level of rudeness and carelessness that we tend not to tolerate in other spheres of life, especially when you consider the risks involved in piloting a multi-ton vehicle. New Yorkers can get brusque or nasty on the subway, but you rarely see straphangers engage in behavior that poses an immediate danger to the people around them. So what is it about driving a car that lets people disregard the safety of others?

  • zsolt

    “Gorton points out that most drivers are not bad or mean people”

    …only when they think they can safely get away with it.

  • Capt. Lou

    The saddest part of the video – as bad as conditions are shown, in many cases it is even more dangerous and frightening. That goes in NYC, SF, or wherever.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    And yet, we endure daily editorials of “as soon as bicyclists learn the rules of the road …”

  • Beefy McManstick

    Do what I do, and bang loudly and firmly (without damaging, of course) on their windows, hoods, trunks, and doors. Sorry for taking 2-5 seconds of your time because I decided to excercize my right of way.

  • the greasybear

    Motorists endanger pedestrians’ lives because they can get away with it every single time. Motorists, at least in San Francisco, don’t even get ticketed by the authorities when they admit fault in injury accidents!

  • The wild thing is that a lot of drivers think that they have the right of way and not the pedestrian. I’m not sure what test they took at the DMV but it wasn’t the one I took. Like the people who have commented on this blog on this story and others I have had very scary encounters with drivers nearly running me over in a cross walk.

    Two friends of mine are still recovering from very serious injuries (we’re talking organ loss) sustained last summer from a driver plowing into them while they were crossing the street in a cross walk. This was a cross walk that didn’t have a light. The driver said out right that she thought they were not supposed to be there, in other words, they didn’t have the right of way. She did not apply the brake, just plowed right into them. They are lucky to be alive.

  • Diane

    Mostly I take Muni, bike or walk, but sometimes I drive. Most traffic lights last 20-30 seconds. Why is it that drivers feel so compelled to “make the light” that they endanger pedestrians, when waiting would add less than a minute to their trip?

  • Most motorists will say “sorry” and then do it again. Jerks.


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