Moyra Forrest: It’s hard to avoid the temptation to jaywalk

Many pedestrians are reluctant to wait for the green man. Picture: Jane Barlow
Many pedestrians are reluctant to wait for the green man. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Many pedestrians, of all ages, seem arrogant, stupid and selfish in their behaviour when it comes to waiting for green men. And I have to confess to being one!

So, my resolution for 2017 is to cut down on jaywalking. It would be very helpful if Edinburgh City Council would take pedestrian needs more seriously. Pedestrians in Princes Street and environs seem to get a much rawer deal than those in the Royal Mile (tourist) area. Tram priority means very long waits for pedestrian green lights – and this is a very windy and cold city. Further, there often seems not enough time for the less mobile to cross.

Moyra Forrest

Moyra Forrest

It may be no surprise, then, that jaywalking seems ever more popular. I am conscious it sets a very poor example to children. This is not helped by some parents/guardians seeming oblivious of how to cross a road safely . . . surely they can’t all be colour-blind!

One of my abiding memories, from a school trip abroad, is being told in no uncertain terms that we must not jaywalk. Amsterdam, at that time, was rigorously enforcing its pedestrian red lights and the school did not wish to be disgraced by its pupils. It would be interesting to learn if Edinburgh has any such enforcement.

Drivers have to be extra vigilant when rogue pedestrians suddenly appear. It is much more relaxing to travel by bus and let the drivers take the strain. Lothian Buses has an amazingly skilful and tolerant workforce. But it seems grossly unfair to expect their drivers to cope with errant pedestrians on top of roadworks, potholes, poorly parked cars etc.

For those able to hear, petrol engines usually make at least enough noise to alert the unwary. Relatively silent electric vehicles do not. For those totally absorbed in their virtual world – aka on their mobiles – real traffic may not seem to matter. Has there been, or will there be, case histories of litigation for accidents caused by pedestrians?

Moyra Forrest is a retired librarian and occasional book indexer