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Why Couldn’t Kipp Cross the Road?

Why Couldn’t Kipp Cross the Road?

Fines for pedestrians jaywalking is a fair and legitimate move. But here’s a novel idea: how about a fine for drivers who refuse to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings?

January 30, 2012 5:38 by

The National reports of an increase in pedestrian deaths since last year: at 46 deaths last year, pedestrian deaths constitute a third of all road related fatalities. According to the police, the main cause of such fatalities is jaywalking.

The National does an excellent job of pointing out how low income workers are forced to resort to fatal jaywalking due to “an absence of pedestrian walkways and cancelled bus… to reach extra jobs nearby, or visit friends. Hailing taxis is not an option on a Dh1,500 monthly wage.”.

That is all very well. But a side to the argument that isn’t brought up as often is the rather reckless and inconsiderate nature of drivers in Dubai. You know what I’m talking about. Sure, the lack of pedestrian walkways and additional bus routes should be addressed. But even if these were put in place, there is still that other side of the story that needs to be addressed, the side that focuses on how drivers ignore the zebra lines and red traffic lights.

Outside the Kipp headquarters and all around the Dubai Media City, for example, the roads have a speed limit of no more than 40kmph and are often punctuated with two pedestrian crossings.

However, unlike most zebra crossings, there are no traffic lights to maintain a fair balance between a car and a pedestrian’s right-of-passage. And why would the city planners do it? After all, it should be understood that cars must stop if there’s a person waiting at one end of the crossing.

But instead of pedestrian-friendly roads, the traffic-light deprived streets of Dubai Media City have become a kind of game of chicken between cars and pedestrians. Who’s going to back down first?

Kipp’s lost count of the number of times we’ve have waited at the pedestrian crossing in vain. Zipping past us, well above the speed limit, oncoming traffic just doesn’t seem to care that there is a pedestrian waiting at—wait for it—the darned pedestrian crossing.

Not only do cars rarely stop for pedestrians, but some drivers even step on the gas as they approach the black and white junction. It hasn’t been uncommon, and this is truly not an exaggeration, for some people to wait anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes waiting for their turn to cross the road.

Let’s not get into the different cultures equals different driving habits argument. While this is still a factor, as a resident with a driving license, it should be expected that we all

go by one homogenous list of local regulations. So where is the courtesy, people?

Fines for pedestrians jaywalking is a fair and legitimate move. But here’s a novel idea: how about a fine for drivers who refuse to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings?

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1 Comment

  1. Bassem on January 31, 2012 9:38 am

    When it comes to having pedestrian crossings, there is a big design or standardization issue. It just seems awkward to have a crossing as you exit a round about. Many accidents happen because drivers actually stop for pedestrians. Look at the US or Canada for example, you will never find a pedestrian crossing WITHOUT a traffic light. And the way roads are designed here, the general rule here is a design that enforces compliance rather than safety.


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