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Prague Road Safety – The Green Countdown

Prague Road Safety Tip – The Green Countdown


It really bugs me when I can see for hundreds of metres in all directions that there is no traffic, yet my better half will not cross the road when the red man is showing.

When the crossing time arrives and the green man lights up what do you think happens? Correct, traffic now comes at you from all directions. That’s because in the Czech system when your crossing is green, the car’s light is also green and just to make it extra dangerous they make drivers look left when they are actually turning right across your path so there’s a definite Prague road safety issue here.

So your average driver now has a decision to make. Does he floor it and get around the corner before you’ve had a chance to put a foot on the road or does he wait for everybody to get across the road which will take a bit of time. The highway code says the car must wait but anybody with a number plate beginning “1A” obviously thinks they are exempt from that rule.

In 2005 I worked in Lyon and it was the first time I saw “countdown” pedestrian lights. Fantastic idea. Clear to pedestrians how long they’ve got. Clear to drivers how long they’ll have to wait. But at IP Pavlova I suspect there will be issues as the moment during working days the man goes green the clock starts counting down from 6.5. That’s 6.5 seconds. Allowing for decision time and actually walking across all three lanes I’ve calculated that an old person can get to the end of the second lane before the Monza starting grid gets going on Sokolska.

And no little green man ever stopped a car from running you over. Be aware that cars are required to give way to you at unprotected crossings but note that as far as Prague road safety is concerned that TRAMS WILL NOT GIVE WAY.


Related video: Stay safe on crossings
A short but graphic example (don’t worry, no blood) for why you should be aware when you are going to use a pedestrian crossing. View the video.