Friday, 24 June 2011

Urban moats

One of the many great things about Australia is the names we give things. In many cases, no research or further reading is required because the names says it all. Football Park was called Football Park because it is a big park where people play football. The Great Sandy Desert is a great sandy desert.

It also applies to some of our roads. Main North Road is a main road travelling north. Main South Road is a main road travelling, you guessed it, south. Anzac Highway is the same. It's named Anzac in honour of Anzacs of course. An it is a highway. The speed limit may "only" be 60 km/h but it has three lanes each side of motorised traffic with very few places for pedestrians to cross. Like many large roads througout the city, it separates suburbs from each other like a large moat unless you are in a car.

It was therefore no surprise recently to hear of yet another pointless death of someone trying to cross that road.

The story itself was on the Adelaide Now website and was about motorists ignoring red lights at pedestrian crossings - something that needs to be highlighted. Two examples were given - both occurred at designated pedestrian crossings:

From the Sunday Mail

You can see that one of the drivers sailed through the crossing while a group of students were crossing. It was apparently a "momentary lapse of concentration". A momentary lapse, it seems, that dragged on for about 12 seconds. Needless to say, as you would expect, the driver lost her licence for 12 months.

The same article mentions the Anzac Highway death in a single sentence. No detail is given. It is a pity. We should know where these deaths and injuries occur.

I have no idea, but my guess is that the man was crossing a significant distance from one of the few crossings on the road. He could, I suppose, have walked the distance to the crossing, crossed there and walked back again but given that he was 84 years old, that may perhaps been a bit too much to ask. It would be good to know why he was crossing there, where he was going and where he was coming from. He would have had a reason for wanting to get across the road. My question is why it is still, after all this time, made so difficult.

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