OUR SAY: Pedestrians have rights on the road

COMMENT: There is no better example of the competition between motorists and pedestrians than on the ubiquitous roundabout.

Designed primarily to improve traffic flow at intersections by reducing the number of times vehicles have to come to a complete halt, roundabouts are therefore no friend of pedestrians.

While traffic lights are the bane of motorists everywhere, when fitted with crossing lights they at least give pedestrians the chance to cross a road safely when their turn in the light cycle comes.

As a resident says in today’s edition, the pedestrian’s hostile nature of roundabouts is made worse when landscaping in the centre makes visibility poor for them, and for drivers.

One way to reduce the threat of a pedestrian being hit would be for drivers to slow down when approaching and travelling through a roundabout.

Ironically, it seems one of the aims of landscaping plants which reduce visibility for pedestrians is actually to force motorists to slow down as they approach a roundabout because they can’t see what vehicles are coming.

POLL: SAFETY CONCERN STEMS FROM ROUNDABOUT

Council planners, pedestrians and many motorists don’t like the thought of drivers barrelling into a roundabout at 50km/h per hour but this what many do, despite the shrubs which could obscure another vehicle on a collision course.

The problem is that despite periodic road safety blitzes on the rules of the roundabout and campaigns to get motorists to indicate onto and off them, there persists a desire in many drivers to force a right-of-way over other motorists where one does not exist and a disregard for the rights of pedestrians.

Unless a traffic light is red and a pedestrian is on a crossing many drivers assume they have no rights at all. They continue at speed towards pedestrians, forcing them to break into a trot or veer around them with a glare or a blast of the horn.

More focus on the rights of pedestrians for learner drivers and enforcement of rules protecting them by police would be a good place to start.

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