OK, first I want to put one thing straight: I am no law-and-order nazi. Yes, I might be German but I do break rules. Sometimes.
I am also in a hurry quite often. 24 hours in a day is just not enough for all the things to do. And frankly, red traffic lights suck. So I cross the road. On red. Uh-oh!
My husband gives me grief, in the nicest possible way of course, for not doing it all the time. Because that’s what the island monkeys do. For you guys, pedestrian lights are not just a nuisance or a recommendation, they are in fact non-existent. No matter what, as long as there is the slightest gap in traffic, you cross. It’s not even rare, especially on our High Street, that cars have to jam on their brakes because some old fuddy-duddy with a walking stick decides he can’t wait his turn. Or a cyclist has to swerve dangerously because some numbnut couldn’t hear any cars coming and didn’t bother to use his eyes to double-check before walking across.
But the main reason for me to complain about people brainlessly crossing on red is my little monster. He is 2 1/2 now, which puts him into a very impressionable age bracket. And, to teach him from a young age how to cross a road safely, I make a point of going only on green when he is with me. Unfortunately, no-one else in this country gives a monkey’s (pun intended!) about a stranger’s kid’s safety.
I taught my son this little German rhyme: “Bei Rot bleibe steh’n, bei Grün darfst du geh’n.” (At red stay put, at green you can go.) He loves pushing the demand button and is acutely excited when the light eventually turns green and he can shout “Grüüüüüüün!!!”, closely followed by “Schnelllllll!!!” (=quick), and break into a run. Until recently, he didn’t even seem to notice that other pedestrians weren’t quite as thrilled to wait for the right signal. Those times are over.
The other day a lady with a 6-year old girl walked up to the traffic light we were waiting at, checked traffic quickly and, pulling her daughter with her, ran across just before a car. My little one’s reaction was to shout “Rot!!!” (=red), and for the rest of the way he kept indignantly saying something along the lines of “Must not go on red (vigorous shaking of the head), must wait for green (vigorous nodding)!” I can only hope that he will not one fine day be distracted, as kids tend to be at times, and just thoughtlessly follow one of these dimwits that call themselves parents.
Dear island monkeys, I know, it is not against the law in the UK for pedestrians to cross on red. However, small children CANNOT judge traffic speed and distances as well as you. Actually, they can’t judge them at all. And because I for one prefer my offspring to reach legal age without me having to hold his hand until this date I’d rather he follow the suggestion of the traffic light and only walk on green for the time being. And I would be much obliged if you wouldn’t be such crappy role models for him. So please, try not to cross on red when kids are around. It’s inconsiderate, dangerous and stupid.
Apart from that I keep wondering why there are pedestrian lights installed in certain places at all. Common sense dictates they’re there for a reason. I wonder what that could be.
Oh, and don’t you just love it too when you are in a car and have to stop for no reason because the demand button had been pressed by a pedestrian who then couldn’t be asked to stay and wait until his light went green. Arrrrghhhh!!!