Wednesday, April 28, 2010

quicko: zebra crossings

It sounds funny I know, but it really is so, I'm my own grandp-- er, I mean, it sounds funny, I know, but it really is so, they call these lines on the road "zebra crossings." Not that I've ever so much as glimpsed a zebra outside Taronga Zoo, but evidently they're perpetually on the loose in Australia. Who knew!

In any event, cars are legally required to stop for any pedestrians (and, presumably, zebras) in these crossings. It's great for Americans, but can prove near-fatal for Australians who arrive in America to find that car stopping in such circumstances is really just plain optional.

Ah well, don't say I didn't warn you.


Sam said...

Oh! Thank you! That's a good piece of advice for when I visit the States. Although, my Dad always said his teacher said "a pedestrian crossing is not a brick wall!" Meaning I suppose that many Aus drivers think stopping is optional too!

Laetitia :-) said...

No Sam, unfortunately a lot of people seem to think that ped xings have an invisible force field that magically appears when they step onto one and all vehicles will stop because of the legal obligation, thereby removing the necessity of looking to see if approaching drivers have seen them and have a chance of stopping in time.

As a traffic engineer in the public service I can't remember how many times I've refused requests for ped xings in inappropriate locations.

However, it is also useful to know that if you attempt to use one in Switzerland you're likely to get 'beeped' for your trouble, as opposed to over the border in Germany where pedestrians have priority over vehicles just about everywhere except on an Autobahn.