diamond geezer

 Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jumping red lights

They're getting worse, aren't they? No matter that the traffic signal is at red. No matter that they ought to stop and wait. These road users display a flagrant disregard for the Highway Code. They watch out for a gap, however tiny, then dash through it at great speed. They know they shouldn't be doing it, and yet they go ahead and flout the law anyway. Every such incident is a traffic accident waiting to happen. Our streets and road junctions are becoming increasingly dangerous as a result of their perilous impatience. I refer, of course, to bloody pedestrians.

We're getting worse, aren't we? I know that most of the blame for thoughtless behaviour in London's traffic has been aimed at cyclists, but pedestrians are fast becoming just as bad. We used to be willing to wait for passing traffic to stop, but not any more. We don't see why we should stand on the pavement until the red man changes to green, oh no. We have busy lives, and we're not wasting 30 extra seconds when we could be dashing headlong in front of a fast approaching bus. We no longer 'Stop Look Listen', we just stride up to the kerbside and keep going. Deep down we know we have no right to be crossing the street while road traffic has priority, but we still charge out between the speeding vehicles regardless.

London's pedestrians seem to have developed a lemming-like deathwish, and no road junction is safe. It must be particularly disturbing to watch from the driving seat of a car, bus or taxi. There you are trying to negotiate your vehicle through the capital's nightmare traffic, thankful that the traffic light ahead of you is green for once. But then you have to slow down because some two-legged chancer has spotted a half-second gap in the traffic and is intent on exploiting it at your expense. Don't hit them, whatever you do, because their cross-road trajectory is reliant on you taking evasive measures. At the next junction it may be even worse, with a whole stream of pedestrians taking the law into their own hands and crossing prematurely en masse. You'll have to stop, even though the traffic lights say otherwise. What chance does a car driver have against a steady stream of soft litigious flesh?

So I'd like to apologise to the drivers of London for the increasingly poor behaviour of its pedestrians. We no longer want to hang around at pelican crossings for any longer than we absolutely have to. We have places to be, and you're just getting in our way. We believe the streets are ours by right to wander across at will, even though they're not. We know that we can dash across the traffic whenever we choose because you dare not run us down. We don't even pay road tax, for heavens sake, but we treat your tarmac as an extension of our pavement. You may call it jaywalking, but we call it freedom. Sorry, it's inexcusable, but we just don't seem to be able to stop.
(...but I'm still not apologising to the cyclists out there, because you bastards are even worse...)

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