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A difference a day (Wednesday: Crossing the road)

Crossing the roadAt home: Hello! I am a pedestrian. I am strolling along the pavement. I am getting to a point where a sideroad is turning out onto a main road.

Ooh – look!
Here comes a car, slowing down to turn onto the main road. If I carry on crossing the road, he’ll hit me and I’ll die. So I’ll hang back and linger.

What’s that? They’ve seen me, and they’re carrying on up to the ‘stop’ line and I’ll walk behind the car to continue crossing the road. Excellent. Everyone’s a winner.

In the USA: Hello! I am a pedestrian. I am strolling along the sidewalk. I am getting to a point where a side road is turning out onto a major road.

Ooh – look! Here comes a SUV, slowing down to turn on the major road. If I carry on crossing the road, he’ll hit me and I’ll die. So I’ll hang back and linger.

What’s that? They’ve seen me and they’re .. they’re .. they’re what? They’ve braked! And they’re giving me a friendly wave indicating that I can cross in front of them first!

No! No! No! I am British, and I am used to rude selfish drivers who don’t give way to pedestrians!

What’s sign language for “No, it’s ok, I’m used to cars not letting me cross YOU go first and I’ll walk behind you”.

Maybe it’s something like this (Makes unintelligible motion with hands)

Dammit, now I’m getting a strange look from the driver. Followed by a look of “Well hurry up and cross in front of me then!”

Two nations divided … I’m tellin’ ya …

16 responses to “A difference a day (Wednesday: Crossing the road)”

  1. Mark says:

    I think the dividing line isn’t the Atlantic, just the M25 😉 People still stop for pedestrians in most of Britain, obviously just not London!

  2. Tugs says:

    I was just about to say that most British drivers don’t know the Highway Code, which contains a section on giving way to pedestrians. But I’m glad I checked, because I’d have got it wrong otherwise.

    According to the Highway Code, as a driver you have to give way to a pedestrian that is already crossing the road into which you are turning. However, there is no such requirement that I can find relating to pedestrians crossing the road that you are already on. In fact, the Code puts the empahsis on pedestrians to wait, even if an approaching vehcile is a long way off, as it may be travelling quicker than you think. And it’s probably a 4×4 in a 20mph zone near a school.

    Anyway, you’re a Londoner Geoff, and we all know that cars rule the road in the capital. As a pedestrian you have to learn a whole new set of rules that you won’t actually find written down anywhere.

  3. Well, it’s probably a novelty for the american to see a pedestrian

  4. Mikey says:

    I have to say it’s completely the other way round for me, to the point where it’s annoying. I like the walking round the car method, as it means I don’t have to worry about them hitting me (unless they reverse), but they always stop and indicate for me to pass, and there is the awkwardness of stopping, then walking again, and trying to be quick to let them go. If i had breasts i’d understand, but i’m just a hairy bloke, so don’t really get why.

  5. geofftech says:

    #4 – Mikey .. Exactly what annoys me! I’ve stopped to let the car go first, but then the car stops to let ME go first, much time consuming friendly hand waving ensues, then I feel obliged to cross in front of the car.

    Much more used to when I stop, car carried on slowing down as normal and stops at the stop line, and I walk safely behind the car. Much quicker, and no hand waving involved.

    Yesterday when this happened to me (and thus prompted the post) I’d actually stepped BACK onto the pavement and moved back a couple of feet from the kerb, and the driver KEPT ON waving at me to encourage me to cross the road in front of them.

    They thought they were being mega friendly, I thought it annoying that they were telling me what to do.

    Anyway, it could be worse – you could have hairy breasts.

  6. Mikey says:

    “it could be worse – you could have hairy breasts”

    A Boy Can Dream…

  7. Fimb says:

    I tend to give way for pedestrians, other cars etc for the first half of my journey.. by the second half I am so pissed off with people just walking out in front of me and me having to brake hard / swerve to avoid them that I stop being nice *laughing*

    Oh, and if you wear a QPR shirt, I have now taken to speeding up in an effort to hit you!!

  8. Brent says:

    In these here States, pedestrians have “the right-of-way” on crossing all streets, provided you are crossing at the cross walk/intersection. There are several things that can happen off that though and depending on what happens, any one of those involved (driver/pedestrian) could be at fault and therefore in offense of the law.

    Mainly, jaywalking is the issue. If the pedestrian crosses the road at any point other than the cross-walk or intersection (provided there is no marked cross-walk, as you have previously noted that this scenario occurs more often than it probably should :)), or crosses while the light is green for on-coming cars, this is jaywalking, and is against “the law”. so if the pedestrian is jaywalking, that person can actually be issued a citation…just for crossing the road in an “unlawful” manner. even more so, if that person is struck by the car, it is not the driver’s fault.

    Now, if the pedestrian is crossing in the allowed/lawful manner (at the cross-walk/intersection, while the light is red for on-coming cars), and a car happens to hit the person; it is the driver’s fault and the pedestrian is entitled to have all medical bills paid for by the driver of the car…plus whatever else the judge may deem valid (it is the USA afterall, where all people feel entitled to more than what they really should just get :-p).

    Wonderful story related to this issue. My first year in college at Miami University, a female student was struck by a university bus while she was at a cross walk. This, as follows the laws I stated above, was the bus driver’s fault, and so the university’s fault being it was a university vehicle. The girl ended up receiving free schooling for all that she wanted (all the way through her doctorate if she went that far) and a fine sum of money on top of that. However, 6 weeks or so after that, another student was struck by a professor while crossing a similar street, but not at the cross-walk…therefore = student’s fault. Student had to pay for damage done to the professor’s Porsche, and was issued a citation for jaywalking.

    Moral of the story…the reason for the fun handwaving game taking place between pedestrians & drivers -> noone wants to risk having to pay large amounts of money to someone else.

  9. Paul says:

    Good sign language Geoff, but what were you using? American Sign Language or British Sign Language?! Both completely different kettles of fish!

  10. Yorkie says:

    That only happens in the south of England Geoff, it’s rarely a problem here 🙂

  11. Andrew says:

    I find it quite annoying when people are trying to be helpful as so often they are more focussed on being helpful than on the facts of the situation.

    How many times have you been behind a car that suddenly stops for no good reason only to find they are letting someone out of junction, even though the road behind you is perfectly clear.

    This happens turning into roads as well. I will be sitting in the filtration lane with my eye on a handy sized gap 30 seconds or so down the road when I suddenly realise some helpful soul is flashing his lights at me while he holds up all the traffic on the other side of the road. Of course I was paying attention to the gap I intended to drive through and so didn’t even notice the other car stop. Now all the traffic is backed up meaning no one in the junctions up ahead is going to be able to pull out because there are no longer any gaps in the traffic.

    Do-gooders. pah.

  12. Coco J. says:

    you know it’s “curb” here, right?

  13. TowerBlockTina says:

    We’ve got the ‘Free’ National Health Service here(U.S.readers,we do pay for it) so no-one cares if you are lying in the road, they’d probably drive over you for good measure, there’s never any police about either, unless you’re speeding of course!

  14. Geofftech says:

    #12 .. For goodness sake! You’ll be telling me that you pronounce ‘pica’ is some crazy way next …

    #11 .. People are often very illogical when it comes to be ‘helpful’ without thinking through what would ultimately be more helpful, yes… have seen the seconf-to-last-car give way so many times and he thinks they’re so great, when really they should have just carried on driving. Pah!

    but here in the south, everyone is super friendly.

    maybe what I need is a dose of hard London again to remind me of how nice it is here. I feel like popping home, say .. oooh .. around Christmas & New Year I think!

  15. Lisa says:

    #14 – pica? Is that 1/6th of an inch? How do YOU pronounce it….with a long I, short i, or the eeeeeee sound? Do tell.

  16. geofftech says:

    #15 – Do we need sound for this? I think so.

    Ok, coming up on the next iBlogcast, I’ll get me saying it and Leigh saying it, and you can have a good giggle …

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