Waving from Zebras

21st February 2021

Zebra crossing
Zebra crossing, by Tony Hall, Licence CC BY 2.0

Recently, I've noticed a new phenomenon: people using zebra crossings waving their grateful thanks to drivers for stopping.

I'm not against a bit of politeness, but when I'm waiting to cross the road without priority, I don't see any drivers waving their grateful thanks to me for letting them pass.

A culture of 'might is right' has been assimilated by road users in this country. Everybody knows that drivers can use their vehicles as weapons to kill or injure others, but we also seem to believe that they have a right to do so.

When a driver stops at a zebra - as they are required to by law - pedestrians show their gratitude for the fact that they haven't been run over.

Light-Controlled Crossings

Something similar happens at light-controlled crossings. Many people try not to push the button, not wishing to inconvenience the VIPs in cars; they seek a small gap in the traffic, so they can scurry across.

I think, just press the button. The people in cars aren't more important than you just because they are in cars. The lights will probably take ages to change to green for you anyway, because local authorities also prioritise people in cars.

Physical and Mental Changes

As well as changes to physical infrastructure to prioritise people over cars in towns and cities, we need a change of attitude. We should be polite, but not deferential to those in cars; they are not our lords and masters.

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