Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My ear-buds stopped your car from stopping!

I walk 30 minutes to work and 30 minutes home nearly every day. I've been doing that for the last 30 or more years at one workplace or another.

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.
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.
And if its a Children's crossing - then the rules are even tougher:
(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.

1 comment:

  1. agreed, however i believe a recent amendment to Subrule (g) stipulates that if the pedestrian is listening to Lady Ga Ga, it is completely legal to mow them down.