Very Green Cross Code

OK, I’m used to the fact now that most people in London don’t know how to use a zebra crossing, but PCSOs? I’m not talking about drivers here for once. Most drivers who abuse the zebras know – deep down in their stunted little hearts – that pedestrians have right of way on the zebra crossing, they just choose to ignore that fact because that way they don’t have to stop or even slow down. It’s only when I or people like me come along with our stroppy little ways, stepping boldly out in front of them with every indication that we haven’t seen them and will be denting their bumper some time soon if they don’t stop, that they come to a reluctant halt. And half the time, crossing along in my wake will be the small crowd of hapless pavementflowers who had been cowering on the edge of the road waiting for a gap in the traffic, possibly for some weeks.

But those, I thought, were probably tourists, who weren’t to be expected to know the exact rules for bullying drivers to a halt with a confident (but carefully judged) stride out into the road, the sort of stride that says I am related to not one but two lawyers and will not hesitate to sue. So I was a little startled this morning as I headed down for my run to find hovering nervously at the edge of the crossing a couple of PCSOs, in full uniform, waiting in vain for the traffic to stop for them. One car whizzed by while I was crossing the other half of the road and the one behind it was all set to follow, if the squeal of its brakes was anything to go by, had I not stepped out and asserted my right of way in front of it.

WTF? Surely, if anyone, these guys know the law? I’ve not got a beef with PCSOs in general – sure we want bobbies on the beat but more to the point we want bobbies out solving actual crimes. I don’t want to wake up and find my house has been burgled and nobody can arrest the wrongdoers because the real police are all busy walking up and down the South Bank with a measured tread, reassuring tourists and visibly deterring crime for the few hundred yards they can be seen in any direction. But I would have thought at some time during their however-many-weeks-it-is training the PCSOs would have been given a brief introduction into the traffic laws. Or maybe (having cleared up all the easy wi-fi bandwith thefts and with no other more pressing matters to attend to, for after all, nobody’s been shot in the borough for ooh, weeks, now) they were conducting a zebra crossing violator sting operation. In which case, I wish they’d caught the guy who didn’t just not stop but accelerated towards me on the crossing yesterday. In a Lambeth council van, too. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay my council taxes for that.

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9 responses to “Very Green Cross Code

  1. Some t**t in a green Nissan nearly took me out on a zebra crossing only yesterday. I was half way across and he just cruised on in front of me. However, as I am now a grumpy 40 year old (according to the wife anyway), I smacked the back wing of his car as hard as I could with my fist, at which point he spotted me and acknowledged my presence with a V sign. No doubt I would have been guilty of vandalism or something, but it was worth it.

  2. Did you get his number?

    Is it the grumpiness or your age that is only according to your wife?

  3. I love your road crossing technique. Outside the National Rail station I use is just such a crossing with a taxi rank next to it. If you don’t start to cross with confidence they will all shoot by you like you don’t exist.

    I don’t know if you’re interested but a friend pointed me towards http://www.betterdrivingplease.com/ after I witnessed a driver displaying some pretty awful driving. You need to sign up but it’s free, then you input the plate number, location and detail of incident. They review your incident before it shows up on the site and send you a personal (not generated) email once it’s been given the okay.

  4. Ooh sounds fun. My problem is remembering the number plates, though

  5. This reminds me of a time a few years ago when I still had a car. I was driving through Shepherds Bush Green, which is a nightmare, as it has multiple lanes of traffic, lights every 100 yards, yellow boxes and pedestrian crossings. I did, therefore, feel slightly sorry* for the driver who had evidently got confused by the blatantly red light in front of him and decided to drive over the pedestrian crossing. Sadly for him, the person that he nearly knocked over was a police officer, who proceeded to book him.

    *Actually I laughed. A lot.

  6. You’ll probably find that you’ll wake up and have been burgled because the bobbies are unable to navigate the zebra crossings to get to your house and arrest the criminal…

  7. Well, hopefully the real police don’t need any help crossing the road yet… although maybe they’re all held up booking the motorists who’ve tried to run them over…

  8. I’m with you on this one. I step out purposfully (quite often thinking ‘my insurance is better than yours, and I can afford a better lawyer’) and if there is still no sign of slowing down or stopping I will stand in the middle of the road staring the driver down until they stop. As for cyclists (and I’m sorry, you may be an excpeption, but the majority are hopeless when it comes to crossings of any kind), while the stopping tactic doesn’t work so well (they can weave round me) I do tend to hurl abuse as they scream past.

  9. I don’t doubt it – from the startled expression on pedestrians’ faces when I stop on my bike for them, I’m in a minority of one …

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