There was a band in the Bay Area in the late 80's/ early 90's called the Reckless Pedestrians. I never saw them, but damn - what a great name!
I was digging around in my "stuff" the other day and came across this cartoon I had saved from the SF Weekly back in '96 or so because it was funny, cuz it's true.
Here's what it says:
"An open letter to you smug, self righteous Bay Area pedestrians: Exhibit A - Regular pedestrian. Believes that car/truck could squash her like a melon. Because of this, she remains aware and attentive, even while in crosswalk. Walks briskly, for safety, and as a sign of courtesy. Exhibit B - Bay Area pedestrian. Believes crosswalk gives him magical powers of invincibility and superiority. Believes he is making some grand anti-car "statement" by walking as slow as #@*X! humanly possible. Believes he is more powerful than car/ truck. Should look out for vengeful, impatient cartoonist in red compact."
The strip is called "Smart Feller," done by Eggers & Leon. Yea, that (heartbreaking and genius) Eggers. Kind of a nice piece of junk to have around.
Anyway, when I lived in the Bay Area, we jaywalked like mutherfuckas. People do in most other American cities I've been to as well. When I traveled abroad, I continued to do plenty of jaywalking (Mexico, Thailand, Europe, Australia, New Zealand...). Wasn't that big a deal, really. Just ran a bit faster when you saw a car coming.
But in LA? Forget it. I moved down at the same time as a lot of other Bay Area folks I knew, so we went through the adjustment period together. As one friend put it, "Jaywalk in the Bay, whatever. Jaywalk in LA, you die." Yea, pretty much. Because only a nobody walks in LA.