Friday, 17 December 2010

Crossing the road

In UK/IE, we cross the road wherever we feel like it.

In California, it's very rare to cross the road at a place that isn't a junction or otherwise marked crosswalk.

It's even part of the law: here they have this thing called "jaywalking" which is actually *illegal*. Seriously.

In UK/IE, jaywalking isn't illegal itself. The thinking is that the roads are mostly there for people to walk on, and only incidentally for cars to drive on. (Needless to say, in the USA, the reverse is true!) It can be an offense to be, like, obstructing traffic or something, but crossing the road at arbitrary places isn't itself illegal. Especially if there's nothing coming.

Anyway, in UK/IE, roads are much narrower, so crossing the road is safer and more tantalising. In California, the roads are so darn wide, and there's so much more traffic, you just wouldn't dare.

*Plus*, in CA, people don't *expect* you to be crossing the road. If you cross the road before a juction, even though cars are mostly stopped, you're going to get *creamed*. People think nothing of driving past a row of parked cars. Pedestrians springing out just *doesn't* *happen*.

In UK/IE, it's totally normal to cross away from a junction, weaving between cars as necessary. I mean, it's dangerous, sure, but it's done. And when you're coming up to a junction you drive really slowly just in case. Especially if you're cycling and going between two rows of traffic.

Anyway. A little difference!

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