Waving the kids across at the intersection of La Perouse St and Carnegie Cres

mother of many 6 February 2009 27


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Just so that you all know – in having my latest rant I am not seeking confirmation/affirmation: I KNOW I am RIGHT.

The intersection of La Perouse St and Carnegie Cres is not a fun place to negotiate at Peak Minute. It has at least one traffic accident per term, with plenty of sacrificial offerings left for the Traffic Gods within the junction.

Recent additions include pedestrian islands to enable school kids to scuttle across to Red Hill Primary in sort-of safety.

These pedestrian islands are NOT pedestrian crossings. There are two pedestrian crossings  on La Perouse St, closer to the school. As such, I am attempting to train my kids to differentiate between a situation where foot traffic has right of way (whilst coaching them on how to assess whether or not a car is actually going to stop for them) and a situation where traffic has right of way.

The number of drivers who stop at the traffic island and indicate that pedestrians should continue across the road is worrying to me; firstly, it may seem courteous to wave the kids across but in actual fact is teaching them that road regulations are flexible (kids just DO NOT have the brain matter available to apply judgement to when they should/should not obey road rules). Secondly – introducing random adherence to traffic rules interrupts the flow of traffic at a busy, confusing intersection and not only increases the chances of an accident, but also increases frustration levels in those waiting, correctly, to proceed.

So – please: DON’T wave kids across in front of you when they are waiting on a pedestrian island. You are confusing them. They will attempt to judge for themselves whether or not they should cross in front of traffic, and primary school-age kids don’t have the hard-wiring to do this until they are nine or so years old – and even then they make mistakes.

AND: you are IN THE WRONG, and are breaking traffic regulations. The last thing I need is for some well-meaning soul to cause a traffic accident right at the intersection where I am standing – in the middle of the road –  with two young children (and also frequently three large dogs). Just proceed as you are legally obliged to do, and maintain a predictable pattern for my children to safely learn. Proceed as the traffic rules and regulations insist you should, so that the other road users – the ones in the armoured, fast-moving instruments of death – can confidently plan their own law abiding progress through an already dangerous intersection without running the risk of accident.

‘K?


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27 Responses to Waving the kids across at the intersection of La Perouse St and Carnegie Cres
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logicalchoice logicalchoice 12:29 am 20 Jun 10

You need to train your kids to walk down La Perouse to the school crossing instead of trying to cross at a busy intersection. It’s far to dangerous and you’re putting them at risk. If they need to cross Carnige to get to the crossing then do so further down, away from the intersection of the two roads were cars are busy trying to get through and may not see your kids.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 8:55 am 09 Feb 09

SheepGroper said :

We’re not all equal on the road though, a truck driver generally has less ability to stop in a couple of metres, a pedestrian is all crumple zone and a P plater probably isn’t as able as a fully licensed driver to react properly in an unexpected situation.

You missed my point. We are all human beings on the road, regardless of our mode of transport.

SheepGroper SheepGroper 6:29 pm 08 Feb 09

Sgt.Bungers said :

We tend to give each other labels on the road, we’re either a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist, pedestrian, a hoon, a Volvo driver, an L plater, P plater, truckie, or a bus driver, just to name a few. When, in reality we’re all equal people trying to get from A to B.

We’re not all equal on the road though, a truck driver generally has less ability to stop in a couple of metres, a pedestrian is all crumple zone and a P plater probably isn’t as able as a fully licensed driver to react properly in an unexpected situation.

Sgt.Bungers Sgt.Bungers 12:20 pm 08 Feb 09

Funny, I clearly remember when I was about 8 years old, crossing the road with my mother going to school one day, getting half way across and stopping on a painted traffic island to wait for a police car to pass. The police officer stopped his car and waved us to finish crossing. This was not on a pedestrian crossing.

Your way of thinking on our roads is common, but dangerous and needs to change. I suggest that everyone here who has an opinion on this subject go and find a copy of the book Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt. IMHO, if this book was required reading for all new drivers, our roads would be far safer and far more pleasant than they are today. Read it twice, and watch the way you think about roads and road systems changes. One excellent comment from the book is essentially “Why should a man who chooses to wear a raincoat to get to work, have any less right on a public road than a man who chooses to wear a Holden Commodore?”

Our road systems are based on standards similar to those in North America. Unfortunately in North America, the car revolution took off early, when only the elite could afford motor powered vehicles. It was these elite who successfully pushed to have road systems set up that essentially pushed those who were not in a car, off the centre of the road to the side (footpaths), to allow car drivers fast passage through public areas. This is the standard that our roads and road rules are built on today. For some reason, the moment someone is able to afford to utilise a motor powered form of transport, they have more right of way on public roads than someone who chooses to get around on foot. Why? Shouldn’t the person choosing to utilise the mode of transport that statistically causes the most harm to others, take 100% of the responsibility to make sure their mode of transport does not get anyone killed?

The aforementioned book explains a radical shift of thinking in Europe, where in some towns the road rules have changed. Footpaths have been removed, pedestrians are encouraged to walk on the road, roads are being redesigned with pedestrians in mind, cyclists come second, people in cars come third. Traffic islands are gone, parking restrictions are gone, giveway/stop signs traffic lights are gone, painted lines are gone. Crashes at intersections are considered both drivers fault, hit a pedestrian or cyclist and the car driver is automatically at fault. This was all done with the aim of creating an uncertain environment for vehicle drivers so that they pay more attention to the road and slow down. The result, over 90% drop in fatalities and on average a decrease in travel time, residents are happier, businesses are doing better. Win win win win.

So, while I agree that with our current out of date system, stopping for pedestrians is not always ideal unless it’s on the tiny painted bit of space where they’re allowed to walk with right of way, I urge you to consider that our system is wrong, out of date, unfair, and needs a radical overhaul. I also urge you to consider:
*Is it right that your children are expected to “scuttle” across these 3 metre sections of road in “sort of safety” just to get to school, keeping out of the way of vehicles, just so adult vehicle drivers can pay a little less attention to the road while they zip off to work?
*The variable 40-50km/h speed limit on this road is considered the maximum safe speed in good conditions. Do you or does anyone else honestly believe that it is safe to drive within a metre of a young child standing on one of these traffic islands without slowing to below 20km/h? Would you or anyone else drive at 50km/h within a metre of your own children standing next to your driveway?
*If everyone is slowing to 20km/h or less as they really should be to pass children standing so close to the edge of the road, why not take the 5 seconds to stop and let children across and out of this danger area. How much protection does a bit of raised concrete and one or two “Keep Left” signs really give these kids?
*Next time you’re navigating your 1000kg+ piece of machinery through a public place with everyone else doing the same, have a look around and try to picture the road without the sheet metal, without any car components at all. Picture cyclists and motorcyclists without their bikes. We tend to give each other labels on the road, we’re either a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist, pedestrian, a hoon, a Volvo driver, an L plater, P plater, truckie, or a bus driver, just to name a few. When, in reality we’re all equal people trying to get from A to B.

In regards to teaching your own children how to cross our roads, you should be teaching them that regardless of the type of crossing, pedestrian or otherwise, they should stop on the side of the road and wait for any approaching vehicle to come to a complete stop before stepping onto the road. Maintain eye contact with all stopped drivers whilst crossing the road, not to run across, but not dawdle. If you teach them this, they’re less likely to be injured by a driver who doesn’t stop for them at a marked pedestrian crossing, they’ll also be less confused if a courteous driver stops for them at an unmarked crossing, and they’ll never be on the road without all nearby cars at a complete stop.

I know I’m right, no point expressing your own opinion unless you agree with me. Wow I sound like a complete tosser saying that… I take it back, all opinions are welcome 🙂

Granny Granny 11:53 am 08 Feb 09

You know, if I am stuck in the rain with my baby and toddler, and car after car is driving by warm and snug while we’re just stuck there in the driving rain, I am damned grateful to the drivers that stop and let us through.

This is just one example. If a child was trying to help a hurt child home is another. What if the kids have been standing there for so long that they lose patience and do something stupid? Sometimes a driver can tell that a kid is doing something stupid and stops to protect them from other cars.

I could go on, but bottom line is the rules are there but everyone is expected to adhere to common sense first. Are you one of these people who insist on their right of way even if it will mean an accident? Because it’s the rule! It’s the rule! Yes, it is, but the rules aren’t everything.

Also, you’re never going to stop everybody from doing this, so it would make sense to teach your children to cope with this fact. You can influence the behaviour of your children more than you can influence 299,000 or so other Canberrans.

But perhaps you could just teach them to give drivers that stop the finger, rather than to nod or wave and smile?

That would change the behaviour of the local drivers pretty quickly I should think.

mother of many mother of many 9:16 am 08 Feb 09

Oooooookay – remembering not to be cranky just because it is hot.

Look – it is not courteous to wave the kids across, it is … hmmm, let’s think, what precisely conveys my concerns… injudicious, foolish, imprudent, and legally erroneous.

I hate to disturb your perceptions, but I am usually grateful for common courtesies when extended to myself/kids by others; and in point of fact I heroically struggle against my narkier instincts and try to be courteous and helpful in as many situations as possible.

This particular post is highlighting a situation where road users randomly disregard the road rules. I wished to highlight, to as many people as possible, the dangers in impulsively choosing to act as though they were, say, holding a door open for my children and I to pass through.

I reiterate: I am grateful for small considerations and politenesses ordinarily. It certainly increases my chances of instilling common decency and good manners in my kids, when they have positive role models willing to set a good example.

I emphasise: there are two real risks in transferring such social manners to an assumption that you can pick and choose when to obey road rules.

Firstly, you are confusing those very children you want to help. You are compromising their abilty to cross that intersection safely; if they cannot rely on a hard and fast rule of when it is safe, then they will have to assess for themselves when they can cross – and children below the age of ten do not even have the ‘hardwiring’ yet to enable them to do this, which is why so many of them are represented in the traffic accident statistics.

Secondly, it is a very awkward intersection to negotiate safely during the morning Peak Minute – there are continual accidents there, demonstrating that absolutely, adherence to road rules and the resulting predictability is the most socially rewarding action to take.

Granny Granny 12:27 am 08 Feb 09

mother of many said :

And – courtesy is NOT a good idea in this particular case (the waving across kids = confusing them case), which is why I warned you all not to argue with me.

Why did you post then? Aren’t these supposed to be discussion threads?

If you imagine that everyone is going to agree with you, you are highly optimistic. If everyone agreed with you, there wouldn’t be people waving your kids across the road in the first place.

Shame on them for trying to do something nice for you, anyway. You don’t hear people complaining about that every day ….

mother of many mother of many 10:07 pm 07 Feb 09

Could you not be bothered to read my opening post??

I cross via the NEW PEDESTRIAN ISLANDS that have been installed at the intersection.

I am teaching my kids the DIFFERENCE between PEDESTRIAN ISLANDS and PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS.

I am also teaching my kids NOT TO ASSUME THAT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE CROSSING on a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING, that cars will stop to allow them across.

Was that loud enough?

And – courtesy is NOT a good idea in this particular case (the waving across kids = confusing them case), which is why I warned you all not to argue with me.

*stomps off to look for her big wooden spoon, to MAKE them listen to her*

bidle bidle 2:44 pm 07 Feb 09

This thread smacks of Canberra’s bogan car culture. On my reading of the road rules, if you are turning left or right into La Perouse St you are obliged to give way to any pedestrians on the road. Furthermore, luther_bendross’ comments are simply not true. All roads are shared spaces and cars do not automatically have right of way.

Here’s the link:
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/move/driver_licence/Road_Rules_Handbook

Happy reading!

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 11:59 am 07 Feb 09

I don’t recall there being any pedestrian crossings on that side of the school. If you use one of the crossings then you will need to circle around and eventually cross Carnegie Crescent somewhere anyway.

Bundybear Bundybear 10:01 am 07 Feb 09

Kids need clear boundaries, teach them to cross at pedestrian crossings and to assess wether cars are going to stop – not to rely on the crossing to make them safe. Who cares if you’re in the right when you’re dead?
You’re excacerbating this situation by teaching you’re kids to cross at the wrong place. The people who stop are doing so because they don’t know their road rules, and are unsure who has right of way.

arescarti42 arescarti42 12:18 am 07 Feb 09

I think the “confusing kids because they don’t know if they have right of way or not” argument is totally invalid. Teaching kids to step out onto a pedestrian crossing and assume that the cars will give way to them is just setting them up to be hit by some careless driver. Kids should be waiting till the road is totally clear or the driver stops whenever they cross the road. Whether it is at a pedestrian island or a pedestrian crossing makes no difference. What are primary school aged children doing crossing anywhere other than pedestrian crossings anyway?

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 11:52 pm 06 Feb 09

I wave people across in a limited number of circumstances, eg pedestrians if there’s a line of traffic that is obviously not going to be moving anytime soon and there is no crossing anywhere in the vicinity for them to use, and cars trying to enter the traffic stream in peak hour traffic that is barely moving and other cars are also doing the same so that we are all moving slowing and cooperatively.

I’ve also stopped for kids from the local high school on their way to the shops but that was from necessity not choice. They treat all streets as pedestrian crossings when it suits them.
Some parents encourage this arrogant behaviour. I once had to stop on the other side of a crossing at the shops for a mother and toddler who couldn’t be bothered walking a little further to the crossing and stepped off the kerb. The toddler was dawdling well behind the mother, who seemed oblivious to her, and I was concerned that if another vehicle came round the corner they wouldn’t realise in time that I was illogically stopped on the far side of the crossing. I also thought the little girl was getting a dangerously wrong message from her mother’s behaviour. So I gave a short beep of the horn. Mother wasn’t happy!

DarkLadyWolfMother said :

The other side of the coin is when we get so used to idiots ignoring rules, that we hesitate even when the right of way is ours.

I’ve seen cars stop on Yamba Drive and even the Tuggeranong Parkway because of a fast approaching vehicle on a side street which did not have right of way. I’ve had people wave their thanks at me for stopping at a pedestrian crossing and at a roundabout which was simply what I was supposed to be doing anyway.

Deckard Deckard 6:11 pm 06 Feb 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Just so that you know – in making the following observation I am not confirming or denying your position: YOU ARE a NUTJOB.

I don’t think you’ve truly experienced RiotACT until you’ve been abused by WMC 😉

luther_bendross luther_bendross 4:44 pm 06 Feb 09

Couldn’t agree more with the OP(P, yeah you know me). This is a bad habit to get into, especially for children.

1. If there’s a pedestrian crossing marked (i.e. white ‘zebra’ lines), the ped’s have right of way;
2. A Shared Zone is SHARED; otherwise
3. The cars have right of way.

This applies at the little raised corner outside Dickson Woolies where, unless I am mistaken, this is a road and not a shared zone. I’ve also had some moron stop on the AWM roundabout to let me on. Thanks champ.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 4:20 pm 06 Feb 09

Just so that you know – in making the following observation I am not confirming or denying your position: YOU ARE a NUTJOB.

AlpineViper AlpineViper 3:48 pm 06 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :


And if you do finally give up and go, and they do at the same time…guess who gets pinged as responsible for the prang?

This is my primary concern.

I’ve been at crossroads at a give way (turning right) and someone approaching the other way (who has correctly slowed down to check the through traffic) has then tried to wave me through. Um, no thanks. I’m not going to go and then have you suddenly change your mind and try to go at the same time. Somehow I doubt your courtesy will extend to claiming fault for the resulting accident when the law you temporarily waived is on your side.

astrojax astrojax 3:18 pm 06 Feb 09

The other side of the coin is when we get so used to idiots ignoring rules, that we hesitate even when the right of way is ours.

this is true, dark lady, but the corollary is one should never assume anything and, like turning onto a road at a t-intersection, for instance, where the car coming from your right has its left indicator on to turn down beside you, never ever trust the indicator – similarly, i don’t bound onto a pedestrian x-ing until i am sure the vehicles will actually afford me my right of way. x-ing at dickson shops from car park near tradies as case i point.

like qbyn gal points out – complacency is dangerous, in all its forms, but especially in an environment with several tons of mass of steel to cope with!

Qbn Gal Qbn Gal 3:05 pm 06 Feb 09

All wise words.

Another point to consider is that some child will get killed or seriously hurt if he/she starts to expect every driver to give them right of way and then the next one doesn’t. Complacency can be a dangerous thing.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:40 pm 06 Feb 09

When people change the rules (by either being a dickhead, or trying to be courteous) then it can make things tricky and often dangerous. Sometimes I’m left in a standoff where I’m simply not willing to move in case the other person does. And perhaps they’re thinking the same thing.

And if you do finally give up and go, and they do at the same time…guess who gets pinged as responsible for the prang?

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