Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Nearly an American Statistic in Britain

I nearly died on a run this morning -- not because my heart rate gets up to 175 during my exercise or not because I looked the wrong way when crossing the street. It's because I didn't understand one little thing about traffic rules in the UK.
Since we arrived here a week ago, I've only gone on a couple of runs. One reason my runs have been curtailed is because of a giant hug by my husband. Picture me singing with my arms stretched wide above my head. My husband decided that was a perfect time to wrap his arms around me and pick me up. I yelped from the tight grip on my ribs, but didn't think about it again until later in the day when I started to feel pain. I thought it was my muscles and racked my brain for some exercise that might have stretched the muscles around my ribs. It took a few hours and an increasing pain before I remember that bear hug that made me yelp.
Cracked ribs or bruised ribs just need time to heal, I read online, so I curtailed my runs and tried not to breathe so much -- or cough or sneeze or sleep on my side.
Maud the dog has no problem sleeping -- see her butt sticking out from under the blanket. 
My ribs have healed enough that I was able to put on a running bra this morning and, after some discomfort breathing the first few minutes, I was able to run about four miles.
I've been warned about Americans who look the wrong way at intersections and get hit by cars as they step off the curb.  In London, at major intersections, words are printed on the road "Look right" or "Look left" reminding foreigners which way to look for traffic before they cross.
I kept that in mind as I ran, rarely crossing streets and sticking to the sidewalks, which are asphalt so not as hard on the knees as our concrete sidewalks at home.
As I loped down the main street in Reigate, I came to an intersection. I was running straight and assumed that I had the right of way when crossing the street, as pedestrians do in the U.S. and in France.
I stepped into the road and a car turning left squealed to a stop.
This isn't the intersection where I nearly died. Just an example that even
 if you're going straight as a pedestrian, the cars turning have the right of way. 
I veered back to the sidewalk and ran a few steps along the side street. A high school-aged boy on his way to school answered my questions.
The cars have the right of way unless it's a zebra-stripe crosswalk -- you know the ones with white stripes across the road.
"Ok," I thanked the boy. "I'll try to stay alive this morning," I called as I continued my run, heading to a nearby park where I wouldn't have to worry so much about cars and which side of the road they're driving and who has right of way at intersections.
A church with a cemetery, where I won't be buried since I didn't die on my run. 


Anonymous said...

In France, the car driver is always at fault. Even if the pedestrian jumps in front of a car. (Same with bikes--the bicyclist can do anything, can break any law, but it's the car that's at fault). Not to encourage you to jump in front of cars, but it means that when driving you have to keep an eye on anybody between parked cars or on sidewalks who might dart out.

Jeanie said...

That's scary. A good lesson to know, a scary way to learn it, especially when you'd been so aware of the crossings!

Paulita said...

Francetaste, Yes, I think the French are generally pretty careful about pedestrians.
Jeanie, A real wake-up call.

Just Me said...

Yikes is right. You are giving my heart a work out. 🤗

Philippe F. said...

Mon Dieu Paulita !!! Rester en sécurité et revenez-nous vite en France ! // Oh my God Paulita!!! Stay safe and move back fast to France with us! We need you here Paulita ( and Earl too...).

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