This is something that has been bugging me for a long time which resurfaced this week when the pedestrian crossings at Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay were being painted. I thought “Good, now maybe drivers will stop for pedestrians.” Well, no such luck. Over the years I have thought that is it mostly arrogant, racist white drivers that just do ‘not see’ the pedestrians. I do stop at the crossing and feel embarrassed when a pedestrian is so grateful that I have stopped for them. When I am a pedestrian I do not feel grateful that a driver has stopped to allow me to pass.
Is it not a driver’s legal duty to stop for a pedestrian? I have observed though that black drivers do not stop for pedestrians. Gone is my racism theory.
Most driver’s express their horror when people run across the N2 at any random spot, and will comment about how dangerous it is, but do not even hesitate when pedestrians are about to step in front of their car at a pedestrian crossing in an urban area. The other thing that strikes me is how when it rains we humans who are protected from the wind and rain are in even more of a rush to get to where we want to go to that the pedestrians stand patiently getting soaked as they know that there will be ‘no stopping them now’.
As human beings; do we suddenly become more important when we are behind the steering wheel? Even more so, and my observations confirm the finding in this article;http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/feb/27/upper-class-people-behave-selfishly the bigger or fancier the car, the driver is the least likely to stop for pedestrians. I have witnessed this behaviour in the school parking lot.
Generally, parents and owners/drivers of a 4x4, SUV, or high-end sedan or sports car think that they have the right to stop where they want to, take as long as they want to in dispensing of their kinds while a queue build up behind them. These same people are the ones that will use offensive language when they are tooted at or the parking attendant dares come to ask them to move.
I want to do create some awareness: If you are a driver of a vehicle and you arrive at a pedestrians crossing, with people waiting to cross, stop your car and let them cross the road completely before you go haring off again. I say cross completely, as the other thing I have noticed is that some people that do stop will start pulling off the minute the person is one hair’s width past their car.
Have a little patience. Be present in the moment and be aware of the world and the people around you. You are still going to get to your destination a lot quicker than the pedestrian will.
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