In the last few months, the authorities have been toying with the idea of placing 30kph speed limit in the towns to improve the safety of pedestrians. Road bumps have already been introduced, which also force drivers to go slower through residential streets although their use is rather random and seems to rely of the whim of some officials rather than any properly-thought out road safety plan.
Protests by car-owners about the bumps may have halted the plans of the authorities, which have nevertheless undertaken other initiatives to improve the safety of pedestrians. The continuous construction of pavements may cause temporary inconvenience to road users, but it has contributed significantly to making life easier and safer for pedestrians. It is a pity iron poles have to be installed along the pavement – not a very safe option – to stop people from parking their cars on them.
It is also a waste of the taxpayer’s money that could have been avoided if police introduced a tow-away service to remove these cars and return them to the owners only after a substantial fine was paid. It would have ended this appalling practice by inconsiderate and indolent drivers and spared us the ugly sight of poles along pavements, which are also a hazard to bicycle and moped users.
There are also more traffic light crossings on busy roads and major junctions which are very useful indeed. The only failure in the policy to improve pedestrian safety relates to zebra crossings. Stopping at a zebra crossing, when people are waiting to cross, has not yet become part of the driving culture, perhaps because there are not so many. There have not been many campaigns to educate drivers, but also it has not helped that these are poorly marked.
In fact, on many roads the white part of a zebra crossing is so dirty it is the same colour as the asphalt and cannot even be seen. These must be regularly re-painted as it is quite pointless having them if they are not visible to drivers and consequently dangerous rather than of any help to pedestrians. If the authorities want to protect pedestrians and make their walks safer there must be more zebra crossings as well as an education campaign about them for drivers.
Creating the conditions that would make roads safer for pedestrians would make the planned speed limit of 30kph, which is excessively low, unnecessary. Most people will ignore it so it would not achieve the desired result.