Walkaholic gran says private stop sign doesn’t help

2013-10-25 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN’S best known pedestrian is so fed up with road hogs in the city that she carries her own stop sign to use at pedestrian crossings.

Alet Pitchers (76) said drivers in the City of Roses showed very little to no respect for pedestrians. They also pay no heed to her stop sign.

Instead, she said drivers swear and hoot at her and scream things like “open your bleddy eyes”.

Pitchers said she started walking seriously after she gave her car to her son when he went to university. “My son got me back on my feet,” she joked.

She has walked the Cape Times Big Walk of 88 km and the Capital to Coast Big Walk from Pietermaritzburg to Durban of 90 km several times. In Bloemfontein she estimated she had walked about 10 000 km over the years.

“Walking is my medicine,” she said, but added hiking around the city has also become very dangerous.

When sister paper Volksblad walked with Pitchers across the road to her flat on Union Lane, one driver slammed on his brakes before stopping with squealing tyres, another hooted, and most motorists just accelerated around her.

“If I had not been able to jump for my life on a regular basis, I would have been killed long ago,” Pitchers said.

“It is only through the Lord’s mercy that I am still here.”

Pitchers said she could write books on her experiences as a pedestrian.

In one case she saw a driver shaving with one hand while talking on his cellphone on the other while he drove with his knees in the peak hour morning traffic.

She described seven narrow roads near the Oranje girls’ school as “death traps for pedestrians” because drivers using these roads only look for oncoming traffic and not at all for pedestrians who are trying to cross.

She said while Bloem motorists have a poor record when it came to stopping at pedestrian crossings, they were champions when it came to parking on pavements.

She now put notes on their windscreens stating: “Please pavements are for pedestrians. May we please have some consideration!”

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