Yesterday, in the last 20 metres of my walk to work, I crossed the road at a well marked, signposted, and speed bump style pedestrian crossing outside my workplace.
I was wearing ear-buds - but had turned the rather interesting (discussing the Bhagavad Gita ) edition of In Our Time with Melvyn Brag off on my iPod, as I usually do when approaching a road I need to cross.
To my right, traffic stopped, and traffic to my left was traveling slowly, as it was banked up towards the round-about which comes straight after the crossing.
When the car on my left did not stop as I was about to plant my foot in front of it, I raised my arms (to be noticed) and shouted out 'stop'.
The driver then started shouting within her car and miming that I should not be wearing earbuds.
I shouted. 'You have to stop - its a pedestrian crossing'. More gesticulating and swearing within her car.
I wish I had the perspicacity to shout "Darling, it doesn't matter if I have a Widescreen TV glued to my head - you have to stop. It's a pedestrian crossing."
When I got to the cafe below my workplace. The best barista, who had seen it all said mockingly as he shook his head - 'you can't stop when someones wearing headphones'
This is not the first case I have experience of road rage directed at pedestrians merely doing what they are meant to - crossing at a pedestrian crossing.
OK, so drivers, if you can resist the powers of my magic ear-buds, here is what the rules are in NSW, Australia: Road Rules 2008 - regulation 81:
(1) A driver approaching a pedestrian crossing must drive at a speed at which the driver can, if necessary, stop safely before the crossing.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.Note: "Pedestrian crossing" is defined in subrule (3).
(2) A driver must give way to any pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing.And if its a Children's crossing - then the rules are even tougher:
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.Note: For this rule, "give way" means the driver must slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision-see the definition in the Dictionary.
(4) If a driver stops at a children’s crossing for a pedestrian, the driver must not proceed until there is no pedestrian on or entering the crossing.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
So drivers - please a little more respect on those pedestrian crossings - no more autopilot - just following the car in front please.