Our say: Crossing the road no time to rest on laurels

IT is one of the first lessons we’re taught when we’re old enough to understand danger, so why is the simple act of crossing the road safely one of the first things we discard?

So concerned are road safety personnel within Orange and Cabonne councils about the upcoming Christmas rush, that they’ve put together a pedestrian safety campaign.

It’s been long-established that many pedestrians walk by their own rules.

Jaywalking across Summer Street is so common that NSW Roads and Maritime Services proposed a fence in recent years, which Orange councillors ultimately knocked back.

Even with the two students in the morph suits yesterday, shoppers could be seen crossing during red lights and one man crossed barely three metres away from a marked zebra crossing.

There are a few myths that need to be debunked.

One is that Orange’s roads aren’t that busy and there’s plenty of time between cars.

The population is expected to grow to 46,250 by 2031 so the roads are only going to get busier.

Morning and afternoon peaks and even around lunchtime feature back-to-back traffic, particularly if you’re trying to turn your car right out of a driveway in the CBD.

Two is that a car will stop.

Road safety officer Andrea Hamilton Vaughan pointed out at 50km/h, a car travels 12 metres a second.

So if a pedestrian steps off the kerb in front of them, they will not be able to stop in time, even if they do see them.

Three is that pedestrians are easily visible.

This is true if they’re dressed in high-visibility gear, but that’s not the case with most people during their daily business.

Roads are highly distracting environments between cars pulling out from and into parking spaces, cars changing lanes, traffic lights and roadside signage.

In a busy CBD environment, a lone pedestrian will not stand out, particularly if they’re stepping out from between two parked cars.

The advice we’re given when we’re young is to stick to marked pedestrian crossings and cross only when the light turns green.

We should be mindful to do both of these things, but to also remember that traffic environments are unpredictable.

Sometimes motorists make mistakes and drive straight through – we have to be prepared for that or risk the dire consequences of a collision.

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