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Cops or no cops, I'll still sprint across pedestrian crossings

By unknown | Mar 17, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Praise the Lord! Commuters can use the pedestrian crossings again.

Praise the Lord! Commuters can use the pedestrian crossings again.

I will be a happy woman if the Metro cops' Nomakanjani campaign is a never-ending one. It is a relief for people who have to cross the street to the major taxi ranks in the Joburg CBD.

Every day people have to sprint like Oscar Pistorious to cross the streets in town. Traffic lights are no longer regarded as stop lights for cars and taxis. Some cars speed up if they see a pedestrian trying to get across.

It is not only the taxis that ignore the traffic lights. Many Joburg drivers in their expensive cars drive like maniacs. They think because they pay through the nose for petrol, they have the right of way all the time.

They have learnt to drive the same way as taxi drivers.

Poor grannies who shuffle on the pavements have learnt how to sprint like chickens before snarling cars even if the traffic lights are in their favour.

I have written before about taking my life in my hands when crossing the street. I am not sure that I will stop doing so because, as soon as the Metro cops move to another intersection, the bad drivers will be at it again. Sometimes, like the vendors who set up business as soon as the police leave, the drivers try to make up for lost time.

I generally travel in taxis whose drivers are law-abiding and who do not travel in the yellow lane no matter how backed up the traffic is. They will patiently crawl to town to the disgust of the passengers who will often moan about being late for work. Passengers are usually at odds with drivers. If the driver is slow, the passengers want him to fly. If he flies, women scream.

One driver usually answers with a sniffy "I have a wife and children to support like you" when asked to put his foot down. He will not risk an accident that might put paid to his career as a warrior of the road.

But once they reach the vicinity of the rank, all bets are off. Some kind of herd instinct kicks in and they lose the rule book. They zigzag, park anywhere, hoot like banshees, straddle the lanes and trade insults with each other.

I imagine that that is how the market places in deep Africa are like from the descriptions I have read. The noise pollution is unbearable.

Last week one lady told me laughingly not to run because the Metro cops were watching out for us. But I do not want to grow careless and lose my hard-won experience. I have seen too many people knocked down in the CBD, especially at Christmas time when the rivers of Babylon are flowing, as my grandmother used to describe drunken shenanigans.

Cops or no cops, I will continue to sprint across pedestrian crossings as "it is the right thing to do".


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