Put fluro on roads, not on riders.

Why should hard working drivers stand by and watch their taxes spent on things like pedestrian crossings? Each set of crossings costs thousands to paint—hundreds of thousands if they require traffic lights in addition. All this for a handful of people not prepared to pay for cars and car parking. Shouldn’t the burden of safety be borne by the ones who are putting themselves in harm’s way?

I propose that zebra crossings be done away with, and anyone wanting to cross the road, do so dressed as a zebra. Some may whine that bold black and white stripes aren’t fashionable, or carry stigma. But just look at the quality and variety of walking-specific fashions already out there, all street legal, and stylish enough to wear at the office.

If that sounds persecutory of pedestrians, ask how you would feel as a cyclist hearing calls for you to wear fluro by law. The latest has come from New Zealand’s coroner. Of course, he/she is speaking in a context where there are no equivalents of zebra crossings for cyclists: no protected cycle tracks, no bold coloured lanes for cyclists to follow at intersections and to remind drivers of cyclists’ presence. New Zealand’s coroner might not even be able to envision such things.

You get my point though. Governments should be painting fluro on roads, not putting the burden on cyclists to dress in stigmatising hi-visibility clothes. Governments need cycling more than their citizens. Their citizens can quite happily drive. If they want to save themselves the public health bill, emissions and congestion, it is governments who need start paying for fluro, and putting it where it will have some effect. Boldly marked roads are a phenomenon of highly productive nations that top quality-of-life indexes. Roads marked in ways that let drivers push their weight around, belong in basket-case nations where one expects to find no infrastructure, social or physical.

 

About Steven

I'm on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings. My PhD is in architectural history and my interdisciplinary research spans art theory, philosophy and cultural studies. I teach architectural history and theory and design studio at The University of Tasmania, Australia, and formerly worked as an architect designing large public housing projects in Singapore.
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5 Responses to Put fluro on roads, not on riders.

  1. Lucy says:

    This is just beautiful! I love the zebras!

    • Steven says:

      yeah they’re cute, and if cyclists agreed to dress as tellie tubbies I would reverse my position right now :)

  2. Adam J says:

    Brilliant article and an apt analogy. For me, the inability to envision anything else is a major problem here in New Zealand, so far removed from the rest of the world that ‘international’ invariably means Australia.

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