Don't Overtake at a Pedestrian Crossing
Twilight and I'm hot, sweaty, car air conditioning broke, so windows down and I'm driving home knowing I should have been home long time but definitely not a speedster. So in this 50KM zone I find the car in front crawling and decide to overtake since the oncoming traffic is far away. As soon as I pull back in my lane a policewoman flags me and advises me that I have just overtaken on a pedestrian crossing.
"It's twilight, and I don’t recall seeing any clearly marked sign."
"Go back and look,” she replies. No mercy there.
"It's twilight and at this time of the evening you would need a reflective sign to make sense of what you are doing."
"May I have your drivers licence and documents for the car?"
She joins her colleagues across the street and proceeds with the paperwork.
I was prepared to go to court and argue the dim light and improper signage angle until I honestly asked myself, if a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING sign were there would you have behaved differently? And I realized that I would not. The only thing that would have stopped me would have been an unbroken white line in the middle of the road which signified no overtaking. So I must find out if that part of the road has an unbroken white line leading up to the pedestrian crossing. Dear reader I know that I should not overtake on brow of a hill, where the sign instructs NO OVERTAKING, around a corner, where the road is divide with an unbroken line, and so on. Here is the code on locations where there should be no overtaking:
1. Do not overtake at or when approaching the following locations:
Curve or bend
Brow of a hill
Hump back bridge
Where the road narrows
2. Overtake only on the right
3. Never use the hard or soft shoulder to overtake
4. Do no overtake where there is a continuous double or single white line in the centre of the roadway.
5. When you are about to be overtaken by another vehicle, move closer to the left, and do not increase your speed.
I am the slowest and most careful motorist on the road. I have been driving for over 20 years, with a fairly good driving record. I plain forgot about this whole overtaking at pedestrian crossing rule or something. I must review my road code. Perhaps all these years I was protected in the ignorance by the unbroken white line rule or something. So I will be spending the immediate future checking for unbroken white lines at every pedestrian crossing.
Do We Want Road Safety?
So the Jamaican Government will be $1000 richer and my licence 2 points less because of the good old trick of traffic cops. Find an ambiguous location where due to improper signage or pale road markings the unsuspecting motorist must become culpable. Except in my case I had totally forgotten about the pedestrian crossing rule (I must assume I knew it for the written test). And you know what, it was a school crossing and school was out. People, we are talking twilight on Friday.
If you want to make a pedestrian crossing safer you erect bold signs with neon paint, you even put a blinking amber light if you think the location warrants it, you don’t hide beside the road and penalise drivers in the twilight zone. Just my opinion, now what say you?