Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Holidays plus Sun equals pedestrians

Stourport is overflowing with people wandering about and once again the poor pedestrian features of the town come into play as I watch people walking up from the fair and trying to cross the road between the two pubs for the lack of a subway through the flood arches.

As always it seems this glut of pedestrians also slows down the traffic particularly as the three sets of pedestrian lights don't seem to be connected and some pedestrians seem to take this queuing as their right to cross the road at whatever point they find themselves.

Indeed only yesterday I almost witnessed a young girl almost run over at a spot which has already claimed one life. The traffic over the bridge into town was queued and a family took this as their cue to cross the road slightly up from the Flamingo just beyond the parking bays. Of course only the traffic from the bridge was halted; traffic to the bridge was flowing just fine.

The family edged between the queued cars and were hidden from the view of any but those next to them, the next instant the young girl darted out ahead into the other lane without care and the car that had just turned the corner from York Street came to a good halt having not had the opportunity to begin to accelerate.

I'm unsure of the feelings of the woman driver, but her face was quite shocked. The family proceeded across the road without noting the stopped driver and sadly I am unsure of what passed as I was now moving.

On a better note just now I received some confused looks from a group waiting at the York Street crossing. The cars in front of me had stopped at the island leaving me with a choice of stopping early or blocking the crossing; I of course took the latter option.

Sadly this was almost understood by the family as the cue to cross; they looked up at me and I shook my head. I was not stopping because the lights had changed not was I stopping to let them across as that would have been dangerous, the right-lane was free and traffic could travel along it and can do so at quite some speed relative to the queue. Nevertheless they started across just as I moved forward into the now vacated space. I stopped, they stopped. I shook my head again and received confused looks, they retreated, I continued.

To recap it is an offence to stop across a pedestrian crossing, pedestrians should only start to cross a road if they know they can continue that crossing without stopping, and pedestrians only have the right of way across a road in such circumstances where they were unable to determine the intentions of any oncoming traffic.

As I've said before the simple fact that drivers ignore the first rule means that those of us who do obey it leave ourselves open to confusion on the part of the pedestrian.