Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cars vs. Pedestrians?

So, it's my last working day here at The Big Corporate. This in itself is exciting but also equally nerve racking, making sure I've removed all the personal stuff I want to keep from my laptop hard drive and onto my external drive as well as making sure all my bits and bobs are out of the laptop bag itself. But today will be light and pleasant. I have an exit interview with HR - in these big companies, it's obligatory to let them know why you're leaving ... and I can't wait to tell them :) And then I have a last lunch with TheBrad, My Ex-Manager and Singher.

Last night was good ... aside from the fact that no one mentioned we were playing the later Action Cricket game at 19h40 instead of 18h30. That kinda messed up any evening plans Varen & I had, but he was thrilled to spend some time enjoying his new internet connection at home :)

But we had a fantastically convincing win (169 to 79) and I played a brilliant game too :) It was great fun and I am gonna miss it ...

I had an interesting experience on my drive to Action Cricket. On one of the roads I drive along, there were no less than 3 "shadows" crossing in front of me, one on a bike no less! It was hectic, the street lights were out (and no, load-shedding was not to blame) and these people were wearing what appear to be pitch black. The moon was rising and although it was beautifully full last night, did nothing to highlight their crossing! Hello people, what are you thinking? I barely managed to see each one of them (they weren't crossing together people, these were 3 separate incidents in less than 5 minutes) as the oncoming car's lights shone a halo around each of them.

I drove on highly annoyed. Honestly, if you're going to be crossing a road in darkness, while wearing pitch black clothing, you deserve to be run-over. And then, as I was almost at Action Cricket, the traffic ground to a halt. There was a police car with blue lights flashing and a car with it's hazard lights blinking, stopped in the middle of the road ahead. As I drove past, I saw that some unfortunate driver had obviously knocked over an even more unfortunate pedestrian jay-walker who was now lying in front of his car. Just as I was thinking this deserved to happen.

It was quite a shocking experience and I don't really know where I stand on the issue any more. I mean, it's easy to stand on one side of the fence until you see it actually happen. I think I'm still on the side of the cars tho. Hello, here's a tiny little frail-by-comparison person crossing the road ... and here comes a big giant moving metal machine, who's primary domain said person has just wandered into, who do you think science is gonna favour? And I'm not saying that drivers should aim for pedestrians, just that pedestrians need to realise that when crossing the road (at night, wearing all black?), you are the lesser being and need to be the one watching your back and being especially careful. Hint: If you see headlights coming your way, it's probably best to wait on the pavement.

I can only compare it to birds vs. airplanes. See, that analogy is great, birds are living creatures (as are the pedestrians) and planes are man-made (like the cars). And in the air, if a bird happens to cross paths with a plane, there is little chance of it's survival ... the only difference here is that there's really no chance of swerving out of the way by the plane. So, I think perhaps it's pure arrogance on the part of the pedestrians.

I have a friend who has the most ridiculous opinion of the situation (and I wonder how many other people do too. If there are many of you out there, then this could be the cause of pedestrian silliness). She thinks (when she's driving) that she has right of way and pedestrians must stay out of her way yet she also firmly believes (when she's walking), that cars should stop if she steps into the road. Could you get a more contradictory thought? And perhaps, in the light of day this is viable, and perhaps at pedestrian crossing it would be too (if our South African pedestrians used them ... hell, even I don't!) but at night, when there's no light for a driver to see you and you're not wearing anything that might show up in the darkness, is it really a fair expectation? Should you as the pedestrian not be the responsible one in that situation? Really?


boldly benny said...

Ha ha - I have exactly the same contradictory theory!

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you! The worst part is, if you hit someone that runs over the highway it's YOUR fault. If you're going at the speed you're supposed to or rather, allowed to and suddenly someone walks out in front of the car there is no way in heck that everyone is going to get away unscathed. Heh. So anyway. Enjoy your last day!!

Tamara said...

Everyone should be more careful. End of story.

Just so you know... Sleepjane and I are both terrified (and excited) for Sun. Eek!

Sage said...

Over in the UK, drivers are directed to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists in built up areas - doesn't say what happens when they run in front of you and you can't stop in time from hitting them..

I guess the rules need updating and perhaps cushioned bumpers on the front of cars is the order of the future :0)

phillygirl said...

@bb - sheesh, I just don't get it ;)

@jane - I know, like it could possibly be the drivers fault when the pedestrian stepped out into the middle of the road at night wearing panther black? Sigh. I mean, I'm sure there are some instances where it's definitely the driver's fault ... but not under the circumstances I'm talking about here, surely?

@tamara - Completely agree!! And don't worry about it, I'm sure you are not the only ones by far :) (as I commented on her latest post)

@sage - I think drivers should be aware in general, but the circumstances I'm specifically annoyed about (not sure if you have it over there) are when it's the middle of the night in an unlit area and the pedestrians still insist on crossing the road as if it's some kind of stealth competition, like if the drivers sees you before you reach the other side, you lose or something? So insane.

Perhaps all roads need the occasional pedestrian bridge or subway ... ?

Unknown said...

You should see the pedastrians in the CBD! Far far worse, walking anywhere and everywhere all the time, no attention paid to robots, oncoming traffic - so often walk out from betw taxis looking in completely opposite direction! and when driving up to robot, you stop cos it's red for you, while they stand and watch you stopping instead of seeing that it's green their way! What we really need is come pedastrian education in africa, because it sadly is an education problem. Most pedastrians are completely unaware of the road regulations for their own safety! Most don't even know what a seatbelt is, much less how it protects them in a vehicle. Do you even think that the new taxi regulations, which require seatbelt installation for passengers, are even being followed???

phillygirl said...

@gallery - Yeah, I know I was only hitting the tip of the ice-burg with this issue, there are so many more examples of uneducated pedestrian occurrences that it's just really quite sad.

I wonder if it's another (here comes a conspiracy theory!) (idiotic) way South Africa is trying to reduce it's population by not educating pedestrians ... like how some people (i'm neither here nor there on this one) believe they banned anti-retrovirals for so long for the same reason. Sigh.

The Jackson Files said...

Hey...hope you are enjoying your first day sans corporate.

Tamara said...

I keep meaning to come back to this post and direct you to the TfL video:

And now I have ;-)

phillygirl said...

@tjf - definitely not missing the big-corporate thing :)

@tamara - yay, you just reminded me I have YouTube access at work for the first time in 2 & half years!

phillygirl said...

@tamara - have just watched and re-watched that. It is brilliant, I totally missed the bear the first time round ... Scary!

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