The biggest road menace is the pedestrian. If there were no pedestrians on the road side, the number of road accidents would have been very low. Pedestrians are people walking either alongside the road or crossing the road. This element known as pedestrian is so unpredictable that, road use requires a lot of care and caution because, a driver can never be certain about the actions of the pedestrian.
Though there are specially designated areas for Pedestrians, such crossings can be dangerous for those trying to cross the road. In built-up areas, 20% of all road accidents involving pedestrians normally happen on or near pedestrian crossings.
Pedestrian crossings are found where large numbers of people want to cross a busy road. Most of the time, these people are much more impatient than any of the other road users (motorists and cyclists), as a consequence, they get run over or knocked down by the vehicles that ply the roads.
There is a common argument that, the motorists and cyclists have eyes to see other road users. True, why don’t pedestrians also have eyes to see the vehicles on the road? Is one having priority on the road a defense or it is just an assumption?
This is especially true in busy areas where accidents tend to occur in places where there are many vulnerable pedestrians such as outside schools. This is so because of the vast number of people, people that are impatient to cross the road whatever the situation may be.
For your own sake, always, look out for the most vulnerable pedestrians - children, the elderly and the disabled. The law is hash on whoever gets involved in an accident with such people. Children don’t always have road awareness.
They can’t necessarily judge how far away a vehicle is or how fast it is travelling. Be aware of this, particularly when you drive past schools. Likewise, the elderly and the disabled may have problems seeing and hearing oncoming traffic.
They too may have difficulty assessing the speed and distance of approaching traffic, and may not be as quick to move away as you might have anticipated. You should therefore be aware of vulnerable pedestrians, and act accordingly.
In order to try and alleviate the situation, Zebra Crossings have been put in place. These are “Black and White” stripes painted across the road (in a manner resembling a Zebra).
They are special crossing points for the pedestrians. At these points, the pedestrians have right of way. But as indicated above, right of way does not necessarily mean safely.
If a speeding vehicle is approaching a Zebra Crossing, it is safer for the pedestrian to hesitate and see if it eventually brakes; it is better to wait for a few seconds rather than throwing yourself at a fast vehicle.
Remember, if a person and a vehicle collide, it is obviously the person that gets hurt if not killed! It is assumed that, all road users are aware of such crossing.
This is not always the case; poor visibility, bad weather, absentmindedness could lead to many a driver not observing a gazette pedestrian crossing point.
In cases where there are Traffic lights, it is getting increasingly dangerous for pedestrians to use such crossings. Not that the crossing have any defect but just because, the pedestrians themselves lack the necessary discipline.
What do I mean by this? Many times, pedestrians will want to cross the road at the Traffic Light junctions, they do not care if the lights are Red or Green and sometimes, they continue crossing even when the light ahead turns Red.
This complicates matters as the drivers are impatient to move on before the lights get Red again, as a result, some pedestrians get hit by impatient motorists (some people argue that, they called for it).
I think, much as it is a traffic offense for a motorist to “jump” a Traffic light, it should equally be an offense for a pedestrian to do likewise.