Back to Black

Who’s at fault if a vehicle hits a pedestrian if it’s dark-thirty and the pedestrian is wearing black? While taking a friend home last night, I stopped at an intersection. The powers-that-be of my town have made it downright impossible to see oncoming cross traffic unless you pull across the pedestrian crosswalk and nose your way out past the line of parked cars at the curb. As I started forward across the crosswalk, my friend yelled at me to stop. I looked around and didn’t see anything. But then I saw this man, standing in the crosswalk near the driver's side front bumper, giving me a what-the-f*ck look. He was wearing a black topcoat, black pants, and carrying a black briefcase. As he walked away shaking his head and looking back disapprovingly over his shoulder, I muttered under my breath, “Well, if you weren’t wearing black, people could see you better.”

Heed my warning! Don’t wear black if you know you’re going to be out after dark. If you are wearing black after dark, don’t assume that people can see you even if you’re just a few feet away.


  1. Oh my. That's scary... But I agree, it is difficult to see at night. I don't like night driving at all.

  2. Well, putting on my lawyer hat, it would definitely be your 'fault' both from a criminal and civil perspective although you could argue that his choice of clothing was contributory negligence in the civil context and relevant to questions of intent from a criminal one. I do agree that it seems a bit unfair.

  3. I agree with Laoch.. not fair, but... I do think they should bear some responsibility. That's so scary when something like that happens.. just glad you stopped!

  4. Yes, I agree, he should have chosen his colors better and been paying more attention to traffic. Didn't he see you? He should know better, just because he thinks he should have the right of way doesn't mean that the other person sees you!

  5. Unfortunately pedestrians have the right of way, even if it is after dark and they are dressed like Matrix extra rejects.

    The government of Canada even put up a web page about this.