Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Green (very) Cross Code

I warn you now, this post is going to be a bit of a rant.  But frankly, if I can't rant on my own blog, well...where can I?

Myself and Ruby walk everywhere. Admittedly, I don't drive so we have little choice, but I think that even if I did we'd still walk those little journeys that others seem compelled to jump into their 4x4s for. We enjoy walking, it gives us an opportunity to talk about the surroundings, discover new things, be in touch with the weather and the seasons, learn about nature and of course, get some exercise.

But I am getting increasingly fed up with the selfish, stupid, reckless behaviour of some drivers, and their total disregard of pedestrians.

Take this morning for example.  We walked the 10 or 15 minutes to the rail station. It was early morning, about 8.30 so there were a fair few other children about on their way to school (those who weren't in the 4x4s).

In that short space of time we encountered no less than 3 separate incidents of dangerous/reckless/selfish/moronic - call it what you will - behaviour from car drivers.

The first, was crossing a pedestrian crossing.  We do try to use the proper place to cross, and Ruby is all too familiar with pushing the button and waiting for the green man.  This morning however, we were nearly bowled over by some idiotic woman who decided to jump the red light. She came belting through the crossing while the green man was up, and by the time it was safe to cross, it was back on the red man. Great.

You may think I'm going over-board here, but I took a photo on the way back because I intend to complain to the council/Highways Agency or whoever about their rubbish road layout/traffic lights.

We were crossing from A-B. The car came through the lights at C.  The trouble is, when turning right here, most cars end up stuck in the middle of the junction waiting for a gap in the traffic to turn. Often they are way beyond the light when it turns red, and so end up going over the crossing when it's showing as safe to cross.

Next up. Walking down the street, we walk past a stationary car.  The driver flung open her door to get out, nearly bowling me off my feet. She didn't even look.  She did at least mutter a cursory apology.

So we carry on our way. Only to be met with this.

Forced to walk in the road by selfish parking is a very common occurrence and it makes me so mad.  When Ruby was tiny and in her pram, on a few occasions I did ask the drivers to move rather than walk the pram in the road.  They were none too pleased, but tough! Paths are for people. Roads are for cars & bikes. Simple.

Four hours later, on our return, the van was still parked like that. I wonder how many people had been pushed onto the road in that time?

Besides the obvious danger of these idiots, it really annoys me that their behaviour undermines what I teach my child about road safety. I mean, I tell her to wait for the green man - and cars continue to drive. I tell her it's not safe on the road and drivers give you no option but to walk on the road. I tell her she's safe on the pavement and people try to brain you with their car doors.

Here endeth the rant. Tell me I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who gets mad by this...or am I just turning into a grumpy old woman?


  1. You are not alone at all, as a driver I see so many incidents of reckless, inconsiderate behaviour by drivers and it can be quite frightening at times.
    I try to think about others and drive safely, but I don't have any control over how other people drive, which means we are never completely safe when we are outside the home. We also have a very dangerous crossing on the walk to school, yes, I do walk him as it's only 2 mins away, but the one road we have to cross is a busy main road, with one blind corner no matter where you stand and no crossing safeguards whatsoever - disgusting when it's so close to a primary school! - so we takes our lives in our hands daily.
    I know my rant will do no good as still nothing will be done, but it feels good to get it out!

  2. Glad to hear I'm not alone! Well, not 'glad' but you know what I mean!

    You can get things done. Try complaining - I'm an expert at complaining! At our old house there was a horse chestnut tree growing near the road. It's side shoots and leaves totally obscured the view of the road at a very busy crossing. I photographed it, emailed the council asking for them to trim it. They came out eventually and chopped it down and re-planted a new tree further up the road!

    Maybe if you got together with some of the other parents or raised it with the school?

    I agree with you that there's so many loony drivers on the road. That's exactly the reason I don't want to learn to drive.

  3. No you aren't alone. Schools can help by issuing parking guidelines but these are often abused and sometimes children are picked up by grandparents and childminders who do not receive newsletters. Schools do their best but other than the HT being high profile at the gates, which isn't best used of his/her time, they are fighting a losing battle. Community police can help by leading campaigns at hotspots and councils can make vehicles who are parked across the pavement move or fine them on the spot.

  4. I hate cars!! I feel like I should learn to drive but don't want to join the millions who unknowingly give over their lives to the machines. Pedestrians should always have priority and it irks me so much if a car-driver gets angry because we take too long to cross the road (turbo traffic-lights) or that old ladies attempt to run across the road. Never thought about complaining... But I'm assuming council would just explain if it was any slower the traffic would be a nightmare. Hope your complains are heard!

  5. You're turning into a grumpy old woman ... no, I'm only joking, you are right to rant. I don't walk as much as cycle, but all the same problems with car drivers flinging open their doors etc. But I nearly got an old lady killed the other day as she was waiting to cross the road for what looked like ages as I approached (cycling) I slowed down and motioned to her to cross, making the situation clear to the car that was coming up behind, but did they stop - NO- as little old lady with her stick stepped out into the road. I had to get off my bike and wait with her and bring her across the road when it was finally clear. Gah - now I'm turning into a grumpy old woman, but where are people's manners these days?

  6. Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. If ONLY the police would deal with cars parked on the pavement - it drives me bonkers! I agree about the problems being worse around schools.

    Maria! People are morons aren't they?!

    Molly, oh dear. Poor lady. But bless you for helping her. Where's a boy scout when you need one?

  7. I have 4 very dangerous roads to cross on the school run. I choose to walk most mornings, even though I have a car and it's quite a long,uphill walk. People think I'm mad - "but you've got a car, and it's cold!".
    The most dangerous place of all, is at the second green man. The lights change pretty much as soon as you press the button, and it's on a blind bend, the drivers don't see it until they are practically passing it. Even when there is a green man,I have to wait because unless I can see a stopped car it's too dangerous to cross, the cars whizz by.
    Another crossing further up seems to be an 'optional' stop for drivers - bus drivers being the worst offenders. Red lights mean nothing, pavements are for parking on, and not one single driver seems to realise that the pedestrian has the right of way where there's a break in the pavement for an entrance to something, such as a petrol station.
    I could go on all night,I really could! I won't even get started on the use mobile phones while driving issue.
    Let's start a campaign? I'm serious...

  8. Oh Lucy, yes - let's.

    You know it's Walk to School Month next month. They have a campaign to get the speed limit reduced to 20mph in areas we live/work and shop. Check out the Living Streets link on the below url, there's also useful info on pavement parking and how to tackle it. x

  9. Wish we could go back to the days when people only had one car per family, children walked to their nearest school and everyone parked in their own drive! I am old enough to remember waiting for a car to come along our road so i could collect its car number in a little note book! I am sure we got about just as quickly in those days and were healthier.

  10. Thanks for that link - it's a campaign I'm passionate about.
    I find walking to school far less stressful than driving. You mentioned all the benefits, and I'd add that it boosts your child's stamina. I did a paper-round 7 days a week in my early teens and was far more alert than my peers in school as a result.
    I hear some shocking excuses as to why parents HAVE to drive, and they all make me laugh because I live the furthest away.
    People are in such a rush all the time, and I know what it's like trying to get to work on time, but seriously, is it worth running a red light to save 4 minutes? Really?

  11. Rant away, it's a real menace.

    With us, we live on a main road and appreciate that car drivers are dumb so we are really careful, but what gets me really mad aren't the other drivers who don't think about children going to school, it's those other mums who have children at the school and drive like idiots anyway. 4x4's mounting the kerb to park when they couuld park further up and walk a little bit. We end up having to walk small children round their precariously parked HUGE car. We ask them to move and they look at us like we are in the wrong.

    We drive everywhere as we live out of town, but I insist we walk to school. Just wish more people would.

    Nice post, keep ranting.

  12. I am glad you ranted about this, I'm really shocked to hear about your experiences! Sadly it seems to be a symptom of modern life that society apparently has increasingly less consideration for others. Hoping for intervention by the council and police is one thing but wouldn't it be nice if that wasn't required and we all showed a little more thought for our neighbours?
    What a shame :(

  13. You're not alone, it drives me mad too! I've lost count of the times I've had to walk into the road with a pushchair over the years because of moronic parking and nobody even about to tell them to shift their car.
    Just wish people would think and have some consideration before parking their great big car up on the pavement, which has happened to me before. Do they not have a brain up there?!

  14. People change once behind the wheel, I don't drive either so walk everywhere with my kids, going to school can be tricky at times as there is a certain part unpaved, always a little dodgy and all manners (from the driver) of me waiting at the side with my daughter go out the window, very rarely get a little wave of acknowledgement, especially hate this when it's raining, also hate the parking on pavements too with no space to walk through, maybe I suffer from 'Pedestrian Rage' :)