… the pedestrian lost. The police have had a ‘fatal accident’ board up at Vauxhall Cross for a couple of days now but only today was it angled round so that the actual pedestrians could read it, as opposed to the car drivers who (you might hope) had their minds and eyes on other things. Not something I witnessed, fortunately, but I can’t really say I’m surprised. The more time I spend waiting for the lights at that junction, the more worried it makes me. The problem is that pedestrians at the Vauxhall station side of the crossing can’t see round the corner to see what’s coming at them, whereas people on the island in the middle can and often take the opportunity of a big gap in the traffic to leg it across the three lanes and save themselves a bit of time. I’ve done it myself but now I’m reluctant to do so – not because I’m frightened for myself but because I’m worried one of the people on the other side will see me crossing and start across themselves when it’s no longer safe. There’s a particular expression I’ve noticed on people’s faces as they make the crossing that roughly translates as ‘don’t cross! don’t trust me! it’s scary out here! I don’t want your blood on my conscience!’. So now I’ve decided it’s safer all round just to wait for the light.
My favourite crossing round here is the junction of Lambeth Road and Kennington Road. Now that’s a pedestrian crossing. Not only do the cars stop for each other, once every cycle all of the cars get a red light and no traffic moves at all while the pedestrians can cross any road they please. If you’re nippy (or take a diagonal) you can cross two roads in one easy movement. If you’ve had a couple of swift halves at the nearby Three Stags you can even pause for a spot of light tapdancing in the middle. Not that I would do anything like that myself, you understand. That would be silly.