Zebra ‘Death’ Crossings in Canberra

big__jezz 28 July 2011 49

I was wondering if anybody else has nearly been cleaned up by cars not stopping at zebra crossings. One in particular which I cross on the way to/from work. Cars turning left out of Catchpole St, heading onto Belconnen way. I could literally reach out and touch the cars if I wanted to!

This has happened to me three times in the last couple of months, and I witnessed another girl almost get hit. Next time I have my umbrella with me when it is raining, I may just scratch the car with it…..

But all jokes aside, it is dangerous, and something needs to be done.

Better signing perhaps?


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49 Responses to Zebra ‘Death’ Crossings in Canberra
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Doc Dogg Doc Dogg 5:43 pm 31 Jul 11

I haven’t had any trouble crossing at zebra crossings, but I do allow for inattentive drivers by making eye contact and raising my hand in a semi wave. If the driver doesn’t acknowledge me, I stop walking to see if they will stop (so far all but 2 or 3 have stopped).

I generally drive quite slow up to pedestrian crossings to allow plenty of time to stop however I have been caught out a few times by people crossing the road a car length before or after the crossing and who still expect me to stop (which I do so I don’t dent my car 😀 ). I also have been caught out by people who walk along and then suddenly turn at the last minute and cross the road without looking at me or seeing if I am going to stop. However I have only ever come close to hitting someone twice. The first was at the crossing near the belco labor club where some bright spark decided to put a fence panel right by the crossing that blocked the view of the footpath (it has since been moved back about 2m), I was caught by surprise when a bloke came running out from behind the fence onto the crossing without looking at a rate of knots. I missed him as I was driving slow but it scared me.
Second time I had stopped at the crossing near Belco Mall for a bunch of teen misfits, they decided to walk slow across the crossing and one -not satisfied with holding me up for 5 seconds I presume- decided to stand in front of my car with his back turned admiring the lake…I gave a short beep and he turned and gave me the finger much to the amusement of his friends. They stopped laughing when I started moving forward and made their obnoxious friends jump out of my way, lest he become a hood ornament….little punk.

MRT MRT 4:56 pm 30 Jul 11

Canberra drivers generally speaking don’t have much regard for many road rules, speeding in 40k zones where there are people doing road works is never adhered too. Personally, I never step onto a crossing until the car has stoped and/or I have eye contact with the driver, one too many near misses for me.

Watson Watson 12:15 pm 29 Jul 11

Jethro said :

lalainoz said :

I think there are bad drivers everywhere. I am generally more worried about the ease with which the majority of Canberra drivers tailgate so closely and are unprepared for the cars they are tailgating having to slow down suddenly.

Yep. This is one of the worst things about Canberra drivers – most don’t seem to understand the concept of a safe following distance. So many times I have been at the back of a line of 15 or 20 cars on a high speed road such as William Hovell Drive and noticed that literally every car in front of me is no more than half a second behind the car in front.

The number of nose to tails in this town must be pretty high. I drove past two yesterday.

“Frequent crash types in the ACT include:

“right angle collisions” (representing around 27% of all casualty crashes),
“rear end collisions” (46% of all crashes) and
“single vehicle crashes” (15% of all crashes).”

Source: http://www.tams.act.gov.au/move/roads/road_safety/safer_roads_and_roadsides

I am constantly shaking my head over tailgating when I’m driving too. I just don”t get it. Doesn’t make you go faster… I know there’s lots of people who do it to pressure slow drivers to speed up, but obviously that won’t work on a busy road anyway, so why not hang back and relax? And surely I’m not the only one who deliberately slows down when tailgated?

Jethro Jethro 11:02 am 29 Jul 11

lalainoz said :

I think there are bad drivers everywhere. I am generally more worried about the ease with which the majority of Canberra drivers tailgate so closely and are unprepared for the cars they are tailgating having to slow down suddenly.

Yep. This is one of the worst things about Canberra drivers – most don’t seem to understand the concept of a safe following distance. So many times I have been at the back of a line of 15 or 20 cars on a high speed road such as William Hovell Drive and noticed that literally every car in front of me is no more than half a second behind the car in front.

The number of nose to tails in this town must be pretty high. I drove past two yesterday.

Solidarity Solidarity 10:57 am 29 Jul 11

I’ve seen heaps of people run red lights recently. I think people are getting sick of them and just don’t care anymore, perhaps there are too many?

Kim63 Kim63 10:55 am 29 Jul 11

When I use one of those crossings, I make sure the driver notices that I am reading his or her number plate and if they don’t stop I write it down. I know there is not much I can do with this information but it might make the driver feel guilty. Now I think about it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a photo of the recalcitrant driver and send it to the police.

maniac maniac 10:32 am 29 Jul 11

This is from a friend of mine:

“People NEVER stop for the Cameron Avenue zebra crossing. You have to stop, and stare the driver in the eyes to get them to stop. One woman saw, me, slammed on the brakes, but it was too late and she just slid right through the zebra crossing.”

I have had similar experiences at the Benjamin Way crossing by the Westfield. I’ve had drivers cut me off then smile and wave – wtfoes?

Jivrashia Jivrashia 10:12 am 29 Jul 11

krasny said :

It’s not a zebra crossing, but I’ve had one accident and some near misses on the slip lane from Ellenborough onto Ginninderra in Lyneham.

Krasny, see my post #24 above. It’s Mout St. (name changes to Ellenborough St. on the North Lyneham side), which is the side with the cycling lane you speak of that drivers merge into to hit their need for (80km/h) speed.

KeenGolfer said :

– approach pedestrian crossing too quickly to stop safely $273/3 points
– not give way to pedestrian on pedestrian crossing $273/3 points

Some of them are also offences for the pedestrian, eg:
– stay on crossing longer than necessary $67

too quickly
(no rules on who has the right of way when both pedestrian AND car are approaching the zebra crossing at the same time)
longer than necessary

Thanks KeenGolfer, you have just reinforced my point.

Watson Watson 9:51 am 29 Jul 11

farnarkler said :

TAMS should use the speed humps such as those on Macpherson St O’Connor near pedestrian crossings to slow traffic down.

They are safer, but now I have seen them build one at the Watson primary school – a whole team, 3 weeks and still going – I can safely guess they are insanely expensive.

I must admit that I’ve been taken by surprise by pedestrians at zebra crossings. Either because I was not paying enough attention or because they were invisible behind the stupidly thick frame around my windscreen. So I now pay a lot more attention, always slow down considerably at crossings, look both ways at least twice (that usually counters the visibility issue) and if it’s one with low visibility at either end, I will virtually come to a stop to get a clear view.

djk djk 9:45 am 29 Jul 11

If we are doing stories, most of south-east Asia is a pretty fun place to be a pedestrian. Traffic is that heavy that there is never a gap. You just have to take a deep breath, start walking and hope for the best. While the cars/bikes/tuk-tuks wont stop, they do veer around you.

Just remember to walk at a steady pace and not stop for anything, as the drivers/riders are anticipating you continuing at that speed and aiming for where the gap will be.

ThatUniStudent ThatUniStudent 9:31 am 29 Jul 11

Ahh, I meant no excuse for them not stopping for me.

ThatUniStudent ThatUniStudent 9:30 am 29 Jul 11

I’ve crossed roads in many countries, cities and villages and have to say Canberra isn’t that bad. In Rome I used to collect pine cone for road crossings. I used to wait for a gap in the traffic at the crossing, start to cross, and hurl the pine cone at anything that looked like it wasn’t going to stop. It was so effective the locals started doing it as well.
In Paris cars stop for red lights. I used those crossings with red lights.
In Vietnam cars didn’t bother to stop for anything and red lights were routinely ignored. It was small wonder I saw three accidents there, two of them badly fatal to the point I still can picture them today.
So far I’ve not been hit by a car at a crossing. I had one very close call once in Sydney. I made the point of punching the car’s side window as hard as I could as they went over one of my shoes, just missing my toes. They had plenty of vision, I wasn’t moving fast. There was no excuse for them not stopping me.
I do avoid those Canberra Centre pedestrian crossings when driving though. You can be there for many minutes. I’m patient though, and wait till there really is a good gap before crossing. I’m literally never in a hurry to get anywhere.
To the OP, my suggestion is to carry an open coffee or milk with you as you cross. Pour it over the windscreen as they shoot past. It’ll end up in the air con and stink the car up. If there’s no close call you can then drink it and be on your merry way.

Eppo Eppo 8:59 am 29 Jul 11

Grail said :

In France: avoid eye contact, dash out onto road. Driver, being competent and alert for threats will stop to let you cross without getting any scratches on their paintwork.

That’s so far from my experience in Paris it’s not funny!

In Paris, don’t even think of walking out onto a crossing. You first need to stop and let the foot traffic start to number up. Then wait for a gap in traffic before cautiously stepping out. At this point some cars will still continue through the crossing without a thought, but hopefully the large number of people will cause them to stop. Crossings there are merely a suggestion.

I would never drive in that city. Absoloutely insane.

alaninoz alaninoz 7:13 am 29 Jul 11

Kalfour said :

Bosworth said :

This is almost certainly the fault of cyclists.

Um… what is? You might want to be more specific.

Everything! It’s always their fault.

KeenGolfer KeenGolfer 6:46 am 29 Jul 11

Jivrashia said :

Dangers around zebra crossing aren’t easy to police, because road rules related to it are vague (don’t think it even comes under negligent driving).

Incorrect. There are 21 offences relating to pedestrian crossings which can be issued via a traffic infringement, such as:
– approach pedestrian crossing too quickly to stop safely $273/3 points
– not give way to pedestrian on pedestrian crossing $273/3 points

Some of them are also offences for the pedestrian, eg:
– stay on crossing longer than necessary $67

farnarkler farnarkler 8:47 pm 28 Jul 11

TAMS should use the speed humps such as those on Macpherson St O’Connor near pedestrian crossings to slow traffic down.

Kalfour Kalfour 8:23 pm 28 Jul 11

Bosworth said :

This is almost certainly the fault of cyclists.

Um… what is? You might want to be more specific.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 8:15 pm 28 Jul 11

Maybe a combined speed hump/pedestrian crossing is what’s needed?

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 8:14 pm 28 Jul 11

The ones on Kosciuszco Ave where it intersects with Gungahlin Dr at Palmerson is bad. Lot’s of drivers turning left into Kosciuszco Ave from Gungahlin Dr don’t look for pedestrians they instead look for other cars instead. I’ve had several near misses as well as witnessed a number of others. The other pedestrian crossing down the road at Gundaroo Dr/Gungahlin Dr is nearly as bad.

nobody nobody 7:29 pm 28 Jul 11

I agree there are too many of drivers who don’t give way to pedestrians, in a hurry, arrogant, talking on the phone or to passengers, texting, playing with stereo, or eating.

One the other hand I have witnessed a lot of pedestrians walk straight out onto a zebra crossing without even glancing up to see if there are any cars are heading towards them.

More care and less haste from both is needed.

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