June 25, 2005

The dangerous life of a pedestrian in Perth

Filed under: Road traffic    Email this article    Deutsche Version   

Australian traffic has one major difference to Austrian traffic and that’s the behavior of drivers towards pedestrians. In driving school we have learned to watch like a hawk for the weakest members in the traffic, but obviously this is not a part of lessons in Australian driving schools - pedestrians are the most ignored traffic members in Western Australia!

GiveWay.jpgDrivers have always the right of way and there are quite a lot of signs which tell this to the pedestrians. For example on a quite busy shopping street in Subiaco there are no proper crosswalks, although even an Australian driver would know that there he has to to give way to pedestrians. There are only tiny hinted crossings. And you can only recognize them because the sidewalk is rounded off for prams and small signs are positioned next to it telling you: Pedestrians give way to traffic!

The first time I didn’t see those signs and later on I couldn’t really believe what I was reading, so I kept crossing the street as I was used in Austria. Pretty soon I found out that this isn’t a good idea at all! Drivers are not used to watch out for pedestrians and quite frequently I was almost hit by a car.

Even if you walk on the sidewalk and pass a doorway, the pedestrian has to watch out so that he doesn’t constrain a driver who wants to drive into this doorway. Our Australian colleagues were speechless how we can possible assume that a driver would wait for us when he tries to drive into a doorway.

The best statement of one of our Australian colleagues was that the reason why noone takes care of pedestrians is that everyone drives a car and nearly noone really walks by foot. How this colleague manage to get to her car or how she is doing shopping, is not quite plain to me.

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