I often take evening walks – somewhat less elegantly than “the lady of the mansion” in Richard Coe’s 1854 poem, The Evening Walk. My evening walks take place in Brooklyn. In recent weeks, as the early evenings grow darker, I have noticed an annoying trend. Obscenely bright car headlights. Brighter car lights than I have ever seen before. Blindingly bright lights. The abominations that are electric bikes have added ridiculous lights as well.

I wrote a recent Justin & Justina dialogue about a parked ambulance with its siren lights on. That was bright. But it was not as bad as trying to walk down the sidewalk against the direction of traffic.

Cars with bright headlights on a rainy highway (Public Domain).
This is not a picture of Brooklyn – but a picture discovered on Creative Commons Search. While this is a highway, consider it an approximation of what I have to deal with walking around sidewalks in Brooklyn in the evening. Credit: “Project 365 : 100113 I Can’t See Clearly Now” by comedy_nose is marked under CC PDM 1.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Why are ordinary cars pulling out the floodlights? Do they know that these things can be dimmed? Is there some principle involved? Maybe if Bob does not dim his lights, Jim will not dim his? Moreover, where did they get these lights? I have been on many evening walks over the years. I have never seen anything like the light show happening in Brooklyn now.

Brooklyn is supposed to be a pedestrian-friendly place. It is becoming less so. The lights are not helping.

I did, however, come up with an ingenious solution to combat the deluge of blinding car lights. In the neighborhoods I frequent, virtually every street is one-way only, so it occurred to me the other day that I should only walk in the same direction that traffic is moving. That way, the blinding lights will be behind me. I do not have eyes on the back of my head, after all.

My plan has worked. Walking with traffic in the evening is much more pleasant than walking against it. It does somewhat limit by route selection, but that limitation is a fair alternative to being blinded.