Thursday, 8 December 2011

The crime of the century

A friend of mine has gone to live and work in Canada for a year. It's the same friend who wrote rude things about the Dutch some time ago. Currently he is in Calgary. He had a strange experience the other day. he wrote:

I was almost going to text message you - get this - in Calgary, Alberta, pedestrians have the right of way.

My friend and I (she lives here) needed to cross a main road, downtown. She just starts walking across and all the traffic stops! What a trip!

I have heard rumours of these strange faraway places that actually treat pedestrians with a little respect rather than total contempt. Until now I thought they were a myth, a bit like the legend of dry land in the film Waterworld.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth in Adelaide, police officers are being sent out to fine people for crossing empty streets. It is of course for our own safety. If it were not for them and the little red man, we would all walk blindly into the path of a bus.

Remember if you want to cross the road, you have to apply by pressing the button. If you forget to, well tough. You still have to stand there even while the traffic is at a standstill. You can jolly well press the button and wait for another traffic cycle - even though that could take 15 minutes.

It's for your own good.

A tip: Rule 231(2) of the Australian Road Rules makes it a crime to start to cross the road when the pedestrian lights are on red. If you are within 20 metres of the pedestrian crossing, rule 234 requires you to cross at the crossing - otherwise you commit another crime. If you're more than 20 metres away, you're fine. The only requirement is that you cross by the shortest route and not stay on the road longer than necessary. I think we should start painting pink blobs on the pavement 20 metres away from crossings so that we all know.

The Beatles potentially commit a crime


  1. I was in Vancouver a couple of years ago and found the same thing. I would be waiting for a gap in the traffic so I could cross the road and people in cars would stop for me even without me stepping onto the road. Vancouver is a very car-orientated society but I have to say that the few pedestrians that are getting around have a much better time than they would have in Western Australia. I also really enjoyed that the Canadians driving cars gave way to pedestrians when turning at intersections. It is required by law in Western Australia but it rarely happens. I sometimes day dream about carrying a big metal bar so I can whack the bonnet of cars when I am trying to cross the road Perth. I'm getting more grumpy as I get older. Maybe the day will come.

  2. I didn't try that in Vancouver, but I did notice that drivers are certainly more courteous. Maybe they're just normal, and drivers are arseholes back home. Yeah, I'm gonna go with that.

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