pedestrian crossings, Brno
If you are from the UK and grew up during the 70's & 80's, you'll know all about the Green Cross Code and the dangers of crossing the road without stopping and listening.
How could you forget? Otherwise, if the TV adverts were anything to go by, you were likely to get accosted by a leather clad Alvin Stardust -
- or perhaps Kevin Keegan in elaborate flairs & chequered jacket -
- or even Darth Vader himself, aided by his R2-D2 rip off robot -
Unfortunately, in Czech Republic, as in many European countries & the US, jaywalking is a serious matter.
It's also my top pet hate of living in Brno, waiting for ages at a pedestrian crossing for the green man to tell me I can cross. At a really busy intersection, it can take five minutes to get over to where you want to go.
It also infuriates me seeing a Czech standing blank faced at the kerb on a quiet side street about six feet across, no traffic whatsoever, waiting for the go ahead.
However, if you go renegade and cross on a red, or away from the crossing, and the police see you, you're liable to get pulled up.
If you're from the UK, politely explaining that you've been crossing the road all by yourself since you were about six doesn't always wash, and if you get the wrong cop, you can land yourself with a 1000kc fine. And that's a lot of beer vouchers over here!
It can also be alarming - on one occasion, a police van tore up onto the pavement behind us and screeched to a halt, cops leaping out and yelling at us to stop. This can be quite intimidating, especially if the language is completely new to you, because most police don't speak English.
Luckily that day we managed to talk our way out of it. So if you are going to break the law, at least look out for any cop cars or meat wagons skulking aroun before doing it.
It is a rule for drivers - they must let the pedestrian cross the road on the crossings by stopping/reducing the speed of the car when they see that a pedestrian is about to enter the road. Of course many drivers don't do that. So do not rather ever believe any driver - always make sure that s/he really stops before you enter the road! Eye contact is a very useful and important thing!