open topic, for anything cycling related.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
Watching the Tour de France I can’t help be amazed at how well the people who design the roads in France think about pedestrians, and in turn cyclists. The number of pedestrians crossings is very high. Even in small towns there are often many crossings that look as though they maybe just a hundred metres (perhaps less) or so apart. When I think of some small towns here in Australia I can’t recall them having this level of convenience for pedestrians. At best they may have a pedestrian refuge.
It not only applies to small towns here. In large cities, just to get to the opposite side of the road may involve a near kilometre walk and 3 traffic light crossings.
Anyone else noticed this? Is this lack of crossings part of our car culture?
Ahh, pedestrian crossings! Yes, Australian car culture results in a lack of pedestrian (and bicycle) facilities. Most European nations provide a lot of pedestrian crossings in their cities.
I think France is a little bit different but in Italy there was a very specific style to crossing the road, ped crossing or not. Firstly if you look down the road waiting for the cars to stop you are lost and will stand there all day. If you are looking they expect you can see them approaching and will not step out. To cross the road you must walk up to the crossing and step onto the road without looking sideways. It is best if you walk slow and steady, a real sunday stroll is ideal. Drivers will stop for you, even though you will think they are about to hit you.
When we first arrived in Rome at Termini station we looked at the relentless traffic coming through and the crossing in front of us.... waiting. A local lady walked up beside us and without a glance to the traffic, stepped out. Suddenly the cars stopped and she walked on. We had to bite our lips and do the same. Our hotel clerk in Palermo showed us a variety to this style. He crossed the street (no ped crossing) and just stepped out in front of traffic, with his hand held out low in a 'halt' signal. We laughed at how much front he showed to the quite heavy traffic
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
And they are more likely to stop in that situation than they would for a red light. Stopping for a red light: optional/if you want to; stopping for a confident pedestrian: always.
My experience is that French pedestrian crossings are as about as effective as a paper umbrella in a torrential downpour.
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