Designed by Mareez Girgis for Egypt Today
CAIRO - 31 August 2017: When it comes to road safety, most of us think of traffic, cars and road signs, often disregarding how pedestrians play a huge role in constituting a safe traffic environment.
The stereotype that if you can drive in Egypt you can drive anywhere in the world probably came about because of pedestrians crossing streets or threading through busy traffic without the slightest qualm.
According to the first article of Egypt’s Traffic Law, a pedestrian is defined as anyone who is “walking on foot, sitting in a wheelchair, pushing a wheelchair, a cyclist, or any other person pushing or riding a one-wheel vehicle.”
Almost 50 percent of traffic deaths in Egypt every year are pedestrians, according to a 2017 study by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here’s how pedestrians should behave to stay safe on the road.
Follow the sidewalk etiquette
Although this might seem obvious, many pedestrians often disregard sidewalks. Instead, they choose to share the tarmac with moving vehicles. Often this is because of narrow pavements, no pavements at all, a reluctance to keep going up and down the uneven steps; or they simple do not care enough about their safety.
It is called sidewalk for a reason. … It is on the side and you should actually WALK on it. There is even sidewalk etiquette to follow (a set of norms and off limits that are/should be taken seriously).
Pedestrians should avoid walking on highways or roads that do not have sidewalks, as they would normally be unfit or unsafe for walking. However, if you have to, make sure to walk on the right side of the road and face oncoming, so you can clearly see the vehicles.
Carefully pick where to cross
Pedestrians should ideally only cross the road at pedestrian crossings, and when the crossing signs are green.
If there are no traffic lights, walk the distance and use the pedestrian bridges straddlingmajor highways, where cars are driving at a high speed.
On inner-city roads, if there are no traffic lights you probably won’t find pedestrian bridges either, . Follow these four indispensible road crossing steps, which you should actually know by heart and even if all safe crossing facilities are available.
Always remember to Stop, Look, Listen and Think …
Be seen at night
There are actually dos and donts for walking at night—the rule of thumb here is to be seen, given that 90 percent of a driver’s reaction depends on vision, which is significantly limited in the dark.
When walking at night, pedestrians are advised to wear colorful orflorescent clothes so that they are more visible to drivers from a distance. Avoid wearing black and dark colors if you are planning to hit the road on foot in the evening.
Keep your eyes and ears free
A very important precaution to take into account when walking in the street is heightening your senses. Although many of us are used to turning to our phones to pass the time while walking, being distracted by your mobile or any other device as a pedestrian is almost as dangerous as using your phone while driving.
Don’t look down at your phone while walking on a highway or crossing the road; focus on what is happening around you and avoid running into a car yourself.
Don’t wear headphones or any noise-canceling device because this will prevent you from hearing the honks of the cars coming toward you. Always keep you ears free and your eyes on the road.