Saturday 2 February 2008

Saving my uninsured legs

Static I see

Having astigmatism in my right eye, I have learnt that my perception of distance and speed is very poor. It explains why I was useless at the tennis lessons I took when I was 8, my lazy eye working with my better eye just could not track the ball.

This knowledge also comes in useful when crossing roads, I would rather I saw the whites of the eyes of a driver approaching a crossing with an acknowledgement before I cross.

I remember vividly about 23 years ago; rather than walk the almost 1 km Isolo flyover with the 300m walk to the bus stop, I decided to cross the 10-lane Apapa-Oshodi expressway, everyone was calling out and I did not know I was centimetres from becoming a bloody rag-doll result of a horrific accident – I did not see the car that whizzed past the front of me.

In fact, I was once subjected to the socialist punishment of doing squats in public whilst pulling at my ears for crossing the same expressway during the Muhammadu Buhari’s War Against Indiscipline crackdown on jaywalking delinquencies.

That same crossing witnessed the possibility of religious unrest but for reason that prevailed, when a lady had her burqa ripped off by another man because she crossed seriously endangering the lives of her family that included two children, one strapped to her back.

Road crossings

My friends who drive, cross busy roads like they are still in their cars, I really take care of number one in these matters, I would rather use a pelican crossing, zebra crossing or some designated pedestrian crossing than skip like a listless buck across the road.

Sometimes I quip that my legs are not insured and since I still need to get around with them more often than not, I owe them a duty of road-crossing care.

However, I have feared for one thing and it happened this evening – pedestrian crossings with traffic lights but allowing for discretionary access to vehicles turning into a T-Junction.

Much as I have right of way, I still require that drivers notice me, they have to stop for pedestrians to cross and then even when the lights are green for pedestrians, and they can drive through if no one is present to cross.

I was crossing and this was after 3 cars had sped through, the 4th noticed me and stopped, but as it stopped, the third car in line bumped into the second – the makings of a traffic jam and anything else that transpires.

No cause, real effect

Now, that accident happened because I was crossing, but the cause it was because the driver was not being attentive or the car brakes were defective – I did not witness the accident, so there was no need for me to wait around as an eye witness.

I was glad that the bump did not create a domino-cascade that could have affected me, sorry as I felt for the situation, I really could not throw a guilt-fit and feel at fault – just as the butterfly happily flapping its wings at one end of the world cannot necessarily be responsible for the tornado somewhere else – I am NOT the purveyor of chaos even if I happen to be coincidentally in the vicinity of the same.

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