Try being considerate

Johan van Zyl, Gordon’s Bay

Considerate (adjective): 1. Showing kindly awareness or regard for another’s feelings, circumstances, etc.

2. Carefully considered; deliberate.

3. Marked by consideration or reflection; deliberate; prudent (www.dictionary.com).

All right, so the City Fathers erected robot-assisted pedestrian crossings in Faure, Marine Drive.

It was obviously a carefully considered plan to assist pedestrians to cross the road safely.

Push the button and hey, presto. The lights go red, the traffic stops, and you are free to hop over the road (or hobble, depending) in complete safety.

The cars must wait, you say. For them the light is red, in your favour.

You now exercise your well-earned right to cross at your leisure, knowing there is ample time afforded you by this well-organised traffic safety convenience.

That’s the scenario – no problem there?

I do have some thoughts on this, having become aware of the possibility of misuse of the lights.

There’s this scene I witnessed some weeks ago, of a youngster who walked up to the newly-erected crossing and pressed the button to see – lo and behold – the cars obediently come to a stop for him. The young man then continued sauntering down the same pavement with a sidelong glance at the peeved, stationary motorists. Did I detect the hint of a smirk on his face?

What really set me thinking was the middle-aged man and woman walking together along the Drive one Saturday morning.

At the briskness of their stride I could see they were still trim and healthy, brimming with early-morning fervour. Wanting to cross the road, they came up to the crossing and promptly pushed the button.

In the space of a few seconds, two cars came to a stop and a third, two car lengths behind, started braking. Before the third car could come to a complete halt, the hikers were over the road and breezing further along the opposite pavement.

Three cars stood idling, the occupants watching a deserted crossing doing whatever a deserted crossing does. I was thinking to myself that those pedestrians probably did not own a car, because if they were motorists as well as frequent strollers, they would have been understanding and considerate, and would have waited a few seconds for the three cars to pass, and then to cross quickly without even having to activate the lights.

But instead they compelled the drivers and occupants to interrupt their steady progress along the road. To clinch the argument: Faure Marine Drive’s lanes are separated by a central island.

When you want to cross, you have one-way traffic only to watch out for. It’s far easier for pedestrians to negotiate, in comparison to roads with traffic going both ways.

I’ve been reading the definition a few times. It’s staggering to think in how many ways, big and small, we can practice being considerate.