It’s For The Chiiiildreeeeeennnn!

New road markings
outside a Whitehall Primary School have been condemned as an accident waiting to happen.

Because they look like a zebra crossing. A real zebra, that is…

The zebra-print markingshave been painted across Johnsons Lane outside The Limes Nursery and just around the corner from Whitehall Primary School.The new marking is not technically a zebra crossing and there are concerns it could cause confusion.

Presumably, though, the absence of any of the associated paraphernalia accompanying a real zebra crossing will alleviate that?

But the council said the patterned marking highlights the position of new dropped kerbs that have been installed to make crossing the road safer for children.

Ah, well, of course. Why not?

Well, because the Association of British Drivers clearly has a very, very low opinion of their members:

Hugh Bladon, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said: “I can’t understand what the highways people are playing at.”The marking is very misleading and extremely dangerous.

“It has been painted where there is a dropped kerb which implies it is a pedestrian crossing.

“I think it has created an accident waiting to happen.”

Well, surely not? I mean, most drivers are thinking beings, aren’t they? It doesn’t look anything like a real zebra crossing!

Mr Bladon said drivers already had to cope with too many signs and road markings.

Resident Patrick Lawrence told the Post: “The ‘pretend’ crossing is sure to cause confusion for motorists and pedestrians. Neither motorist nor pedestrian will really understand what the road markings mean.

“A pedestrian, possibly a child going to school, may think they have priority on the pretend zebra crossing, while at the same time a motorist may be aware that the markings in the road mean nothing at all and so ignore them. The consequential results could be significant.”

Wow! Well, now I know what the ABM thinks I should do if pedestrians are jaywalking – run ‘em over! And if they are crossing on a fake zebra crossing, it’s not my fault, because those road markings mean nothing…

“In its perceived wisdom the council has also painted a pretend zebra crossing on the nearby cycle path.

“This will lead to pedestrians crossing from Bruce Road to Johnsons Road to think they have some kind of priority over the thousands of pedestrian and cycle traffic using the Bristol to Bath cycle path.”

It’s a long time since I looked at the Highway Code, but isn’t there a presumption that pedestrians have right of way?

In fact, isn’t that why we don’t have the offence of ‘jaywalking’ on the statute books, and why I can’t run ‘em over as I so dearly want to?

Bristol City Council spokeswoman Kate Hartas said the new ‘school-friendly’ scheme, which is funded by Sustrans, was designed by the same team who are devising the cycle path from Long Ashton to Bristol.

Well, that bodes well, doesn’t it?

“In order to make this option more attractive, the council has installed a total of seven dropped kerbs, with three zebra-skin markings to highlight the position of these crossings. Fun markings encourage the children to actively want to cross at a specific, safer place, whereas previously they were crossing at a number of points, some dangerous…The message is that the road around the school is a child-friendly space and cars must take care.”

Which sounds like a very good idea to me.

Now, tackling the parking habits of the idiot parents of the children attending schools might be a lot harder nut to crack…

11 comments for “It’s For The Chiiiildreeeeeennnn!

  1. March 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

    isn’t there a presumption that pedestrians have right of way?

    Yes, and in any case it is unsporting to run them over, but the point is a serious one and is of a piece with pretendy-police officers. Either make a proper crossing or don’t, or maybe have a lollipop person to help.

    The gradual subversion of official signs trains people to accept counterfeit authority on dozens of tiny levels, each one insignificant of itself but altogether they lead – as we’ve seen so often – minor operatives to think their word is law.

    • March 9, 2012 at 5:31 am

      True enough. And we’re gradually conditioned to accept that.

  2. March 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I rather agree with the protesters. Despite knowing the road laws and doing my best to drive safely I think this is a potentially dangerous distraction. Anything that confuses and distracts people, or may cause them to behave in a less predictable way, is very stupid.
    Round my way the council have just modified and narrowed a junction with a ‘pretend’ additional pavement area. Now nobody knows where the pavement ends and the roadway begins. The result is that people waiting to cross are likely to get sideswiped by a bus or lorry because it’s rear wheels cannot avoid cutting over the ‘disputed’ area.

  3. March 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I’m with the “accident waiting to happen”. People are thick and morning drivers on the school run are notorious for “multi-tasking” – mobile, toast, kids, two dozen other things and oh, a bit of driving too – they’re thicker than most. If you doubt it, look at the attempts at parking around school on the way past.

    The bottom line is – why change something which was working perfectly well before? There are two principles which should be writ large:

    1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it;
    2. K.I.S.S.

    • March 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Actually, so am I. My preferred approach would be to remove all but the essential road markings and signage. Less is more.

      That said, I’d be more sympathetic with the ABD’s point if they weren’t so hysterical about it.

    • March 9, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Yup, I dread having to drive anywhere when the ‘school run’ is on. It’s no better on the afternoon collection!

  4. Peter MacFarlane
    March 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Woe betide the pedestrians if they expect cyclists to give way to them, or even to acknowledge their existence.

    If they’re exceptionally fortunate they might just get away with an earful of foul-mouthed abuse or a kicking.

  5. nemesis
    March 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    The late Hans Monderman introduced the concept of ‘shared space’. A completely revolutionary and somewhat counter-intuitive approach to traffic engineering. An interesting if lecture of his is well worth a listen.

    • March 9, 2012 at 5:34 am

      There’s a great deal of these being built here. It’s the latest fad with town planners.

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