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Old 09-08-2019, 04:09 AM
 
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This subject is one thing that is overlooked by guides but a really good to know for travelers/migrants whether they plan on walking, biking, driving a car, or riding a motorcycle. To avoid culture flus, being hated, or getting into near accidents and road rage incidents. This sometimes can shock one fresh off the plane.

Tips for visitors/immigrants going to North America:

In much of North America, maybe with exception of parts of Canada, pedestrians are often looked down upon, Almost like second class citizens, there are hardly any safe pedestrian facilities nor transit, if they exist they are often infested by homeless, beggers, youth gangs, etc. Police harassment of pedestrians is not uncommon because of this particularly ones with darker skin. Also Contrary to popular belief a pedestrians’ legal rights are actually very limited, you have no right of way or freedom to roam in much of North America. Most non road property is closed to pedestrians, You only have right of way when there is a sidewalk, or at intersections, marked walkways, etc. So in many rural areas you are expected to walk in the narrow nonexistent shoulder with traffic squeezing you at high speeds. One joke often heard around NA, want to get away with murder without being charged with murder? run them down with a vehicle and make it look like an accident. Vehicles actually have right of way in most cases except on sidewalks, intersections, crossings(very rare and poorly marked) and traffic signals that doesn’t prohibit crossing.

However in spite of this if you are walking along a main drag drivers would treat you like thru traffic and would pretty much always give way if they are turning or proceeding out of a minor street where they most always have a stop sign or alto/pare/arret sign depending on local language. A pedestrian usually doesn’t have to break stride in such situations, just one look and if drivers notice you are there they will let you cross, At all way stops(a North American phenomian) pedestrians would be given right of way at all four corners even if crosswalks arnt painted. Though it’s nice to allow vehicles that arrived first to take their turn. At two way stops though pedestrians are expected to give way to vehicles if they don’t have stop signs. Same if they are crossing the main drag from a side street, or are crossing mid-block or jaywalking. Also if a painted pedestrian crosswalk is crossing a high speed road pedestrians are expected to let a group of vehicles go through and then cross and then vehicles are expected to stop. For this subject I include any traffic that is legal on a sidewalk for that matter. Cyclists, skateboards, wheelchairs, mobility device etc. Having said all that officially speaking every right angle of an intersection/Junction/crossroad is a crosswalk whether one is marked or not.

At traffic lights pedestrians are expected to cross at the green light or the walking man is on, though turning traffic is expected to give way. Even if the crossing is not painted. The only is Exception if there is a no ped crossing sign. Some light has turning arrows in that case the pedestrians would most always face a red hand.

-Drivers are expected to help pedestrians cross if they are in a difficult situation such as in a group across a busy road though.
- while in a shopping center, mall, pedestrian plaza, narrow street, parking plaza, tour bus loading zone, etc. Drivers and buses are expected to let pedestrians and/or tour groups/bus passengers pass first. Though pedestrians should respect drivers by walking to the side if possible.
-interestingly North Americans generally have a high degree of personal space and would apologize if they have to violate it, thus drivers should never threaten a pedestrian that they feel the need to jump out of the way or make them by driving near a meter of them at speeds higher than 20 kilometers an hours
Drivers from Asia/china, Turkey, Israel, and even Latin countries take notice. As there its common for cars trucks and buses to bully pedestrians by driving centimeters of them at high speeds. But do this in North America you might incite pedestrian road rage.

Just beware a lot of time North American drivers don’t expect pedestrians on the road as they hardly ever encounter one outside of the town centre or shopping centers.

How does your part of the world compare?

Do you live in a part of the world where pedestrians are almost always granted priority over motor vehicles where they conflict or cross each other’s path? Or opposite way around?

Last edited by citizensadvocate; 09-08-2019 at 05:27 AM..
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:45 PM
 
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Pedestrians are kings where I live (Oslo). I am always very aware of pedestrians as a driver. Cycylists, on the other hand, are often vilified by drivers, mostly for reckless behavior (ignoring traffic lights and signs, driving against traffic, etc.). The worst offenders are elite amateur sportsmen (illustration only) in the 40-50-year old bracket.
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:17 PM
 
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Wow I would like to visit Oslo or Scandinavia someday I heard it’s expensive though,
I guess parts of Canada are influenced by Scandinavia. So I am taking it as you mean that in Oslo or Norway drivers generally give pedestrians a wide birth and allow them to pass first whenever possible especially in low speed or shared road situations.

Good questions One can ask about a new place they are moving to or visiting fresh off the plane Is thendriver or pedestrian expected to give when:
-crossing an intersection with traffic lights and walk lights,
-crossing an intersection with traffic signals but no walk lights or lines on the ground.
-crossing an intersection without traffic lights,
-with lines on the ground
-w/o lines on the ground.
-crossing a side street/ally/driveway while walking on the main drag
-crossing the main drag from a side street
-on narrow pedestrianized streets.
-on pedestrian plazas, shared walkways/driveways, parking lot
tarmacs, tour bus parking areas. Etc. These are often where travelers would first encounter drivers even if they haven’t set foot on a roadway.
-are pedestrians and drivers expected to thank each other for allowing to go first?
It appears in Japan a sense of situational awareness occurs and in some areas pedestrian are expected to show a hand signal to cross the road, and even bow to thank drivers for stopping.
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:22 PM
 
Location: southern california
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I gave away my good bicycle -too many injured cyclist friends
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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In Cebu, pedestrians far outnumber vehicles, so of course, drivers are aware of them. I've never seen an accident. The roadway is simply shared by both. Vehicles pretty reliably yield to crossing foot traffic, cycles just by veering around them.

An ethic has evolved in which motorized and foot traffic give and take, mindful of each other's place in the chaos, in which there is virtually no traffic control signage, yet traffic flows pretty smoothly..
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:28 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
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Pedestrians are KINGS, cyclists are QUEENS and motorcyclists and motorists are foot soldiers. Pedestrians always have the right of way where I live (Poland/Germany). Drivers are very aware of pedestrians and cyclists.
Generally, everywhere are designated, secluded paths just for bicycles, so they do not interfere with the car traffic. There are standard regulations regarding mandatory equipment to ensure cyclists’ visibility like pedal reflectors, spoke reflectors, a white front light, red brake light, and a loud-sounding bell, all must be in good working order.
On the street, they ride with traffic riding in the direction of traffic. However, children up to age 8 must be on the sidewalk, not in traffic.

Some European cities have come up with an innovative way of saving the skin of pedestrians glued to their smartphones by embedding traffic lights in the pavement. The light strips are designed to catch the eye of people looking down at their device, and change color to match traffic signals.
https://tinyurl.com/y5knb6t7

This would never fly in the US, though: lol
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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As a blind white-cane pedestrian in USA, I avoided crossing at intersections --- cars coming from too many different directions. Even with a Walk sign, to which motorists are perfectly oblivious. I walk down the block and cross where I feel safe from the chaos, with traffic in each lane coming from only one direction, which I can still see well enough to detect.


US is the worst country in the world for blind pedestrians. It is assumed that there are no pedestrians, and if one pops up, he'll see a car (even a silent electric one behind him) and can jump out of harm's way.

Electric cars add a whole new dimension of the menace to pedestrians, especially in parking lots.


Elnine, thanks for the German video. My Cebu experience is that almost everywhere, traffic would flow better and safer without controls, which award people a false sense of of privilege..

Last edited by cebuan; 09-08-2019 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:03 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
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There is lots done for blind pedestrians in Europe, even in Poland. For vision-impaired users there are sound-based ways to guide themselves towards and over a zebra crossing. There are beacons messages connected with their smartphones.

Dimpled pavings mark the point where the street curb drops at a road crossing and close to the edge of a train platform, or tramline.
Horizontal pattern of raised lines across the pavement indicates the footpath side.

Plates in Braille inform about public buildings and transportation layout.
Here is a plate at the entry to Polish train station. It shows the area layout with entry and exits to different parts of the town:
Spoiler


And here you can see an example of tactile paths with different raised patterns:
Spoiler


One more pic how paths are marked for visual-impaired pedestrians:
Spoiler


And how bike lanes are separated from the main traffic:

Spoiler
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Last edited by elnina; 09-09-2019 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:06 AM
 
2,290 posts, read 1,071,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Pedestrians are KINGS, cyclists are QUEENS and motorcyclists and motorists are foot soldiers. Pedestrians always have the right of way where I live (Poland/Germany). Drivers are very aware of pedestrians and cyclists.
Generally, everywhere are designated, secluded paths just for bicycles, so they do not interfere with the car traffic. There are standard regulations regarding mandatory equipment to ensure cyclists’ visibility like pedal reflectors, spoke reflectors, a white front light, red brake light, and a loud-sounding bell, all must be in good working order.
On the street, they ride with traffic riding in the direction of traffic. However, children up to age 8 must be on the sidewalk, not in traffic.

Some European cities have come up with an innovative way of saving the skin of pedestrians glued to their smartphones by embedding traffic lights in the pavement. The light strips are designed to catch the eye of people looking down at their device, and change color to match traffic signals.
https://tinyurl.com/y5knb6t7

This would never fly in the US, though: lol

So I guess when in doubt pedestrians have the right of way in those countries?
Better than in North America even parts of Canada? Meaning that in pedestrian zones private property etc, drivers are expected to allow groups of pedestrians pass together and not pass in between them let alone at speed
Interesting some sources still criticize Poland’s pedestrian right of way as not protective enough,

Though generally throughout the west it’s generally pedestrian over cyclist over motor vehicles.
There is no doubt that the needs of pedestrians are prioritized in most of Europe compared to North America. But driving culture can vary greatly from region to region. For example in France, while its home to the world’s broadest pedestrian right of way law where a pedestrian only has to show hand signal or take forward steps and drivers must stop. Whether or not a crosswalk is marked. Though pedestrians must use crossings if one is within 50 meters it’s a culture flux and rude to set foot on the street/crosswalk without giving cars a chance to pass first. Locals would get upset if a group continues to stream into their path. Yes I saw a little 7 minute tour group trying to walk on the long pedestrian crossing across a bus parking area. A tour bus was departing slowly and could had easily passed behind the group Though the tour guide stopped the group and said excuse moi the bus and waved the bus in front of the group.
Barcelona Spain in my experience it seems to be an easy place to walk as drivers and motorbikes would give way at one of the many traffic lights. And the city is walking friendly by design. I don’t know about parking lots or junctions without lights as there isnt much of them I encountered.
In Italy especially in Rome you have to be brave to secure your right of way walk like Moses parting the Red Sea. Drivers also have the tendency of trying to cut close to pedestrians not just crossing the street but walking on tight pedestrianized streets as well. Of course while pedestrians have the right of way over wheels devices officially, Though it’s understandable that with the sheer number of pedestrians particularly tourists in such a pedestrian friendly city drivers expect petty and courtesy from pedestrians as the numbers of times they have to brake, clutch, downshift all over again, is overwhelming that it’s hard for them go anywhere if they strictly waited for pedestrian to pass. Thus sometimes eye contact means for the driver to please go first. Whereas in car friendly North America it’s hard for pedestrians to walk and drivers see pedestrians once in a blue moon thus drivers are expected to have petty for pedestrians.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Bologna, Italy
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Italy is pretty bad for pedestrians overall, and it gets worse as you go south. I know that people think of it with the old city centers in mind, but they're full of cars everywhere and generally speed limits are rarely observed, and neither is the rule that cars should stop at pedestrian crossing signs.

As a cyclist it's even worse. This morning I went downtown, and overtook a slower bike, and it was enough to get honked by a car behind who didn't like to have to wait for 10 seconds to overtake the both of us. That's a very typical behavior here. I have been insulted many times by people in cars just because I was there, sometimes because I was observing the rules and they wouldn't. Typically, when there are two lanes and i'm on the one that goes left and we have a red light, and the right lane has a green light, yet cars use the left lane to go straight, so i'm the ******* who is in the middle forcing people to observe the rules.

Also I live in a 350k city with a metro that's probably under a million people, and we have a grand total of two speed cameras in the entire area, as there is a strange italian rule that makes it almost impossible for municipalities to install them on most roads, are the roads are generally controlled by the region / state. Bureaucracy is never on the right side.

Also the police almost never controls speed here, whereas in downtown Bologna they have undercover cops to give fines to cyclists who ride in the wrong direction for 50 m to avoid to have to ride one kilometer. You can see where the priorities are.

Also as a pedestrian it is very normal to have to wait to cross the street for a minute or two because no car won't stop even if they have to. They just drive too fast in urban areas, so if they stop they really have to put both feet on the brake.

Parkings are also considered a treasure, and anytime a city wants to put bikelanes instead there's a very large protest because cycling is mostly seen as a sport here, not as a means of transportation.

That said it used to be much worse, so I guess by 2050 we'll probably be like Denmark in the 90s.
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