Dance with The Red Man

17 01 2015

So in Canada it’s a red hand/white man. I think in the UK (it’s been a while) it was a red man/green man.

Different countries have different motifs but the general message is (as per The Boomtown Rats’ “Rat-trap”) “walk”/”don’t walk”. Despite the clear markings people STILL cross when there’s a definite sign suggesting they might consider the contrary. Vancouver I find to be particularly dangerous because pedestrians often treat “green light for cars” as “white man for pedestrians”. It’s true there’s a lot of overlap, so it’s USUALLY coincident, but there are exceptions. There can be a green filter light for left turns for cars, and most definitely NOT a white man, for example. People arriving at an intersection when a green light is already in effect, and no white man (due to no pedestrians pressing the button) will often march into the road unabashed. Usually this is OK, but at the end of a cycle there can be cars patiently waiting to turn left at a busy intersection, and given the changing lights will often feel the need to get out of the intersection now the on-coming cars are stopping. To suddenly find a pedestrian in the way can often not end well. Either the pedestrian gets flattened or the car screeches to a halt and gets T-boned.

Perhaps then, finding ways to make the red man more entertaining would help delay pedestrians until it was properly safe to cross…

All that said, I was once hit by a car at a light-controlled crossing in the UK and given a free ride for 50 yards down the Keighley Road in Bradford on a car’s bonnet. The car simply sailed through a red light (and me). So I’m not suggesting that following the proper rules is guaranteed to lead to a totally injury free crossing experience.

EDIT: The black and white paving patterns and chic styling had this down as Portuguese (or possibly Brazilian by extension), and sure enough it turns out it was filmed in Lisbon.

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