Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Jay-walking or Bridge-crossing? (And the Winning Photo)
Text and pictures by © Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved.
People using the pedestrian crossing bridge to cross the street like in the above photo is probably a common sight in some other countries, but it is not in Bandung. Many people here prefer to jaywalk to cross the street rather than using the pedestrian crossing bridge. One of the reasons is perhaps because our streets are relatively narrow and it takes more time and energy to cross them safely using the pedestrian crossing bridge than jaywalking, despite the risks. But then, when it is an expected thing, everybody knows what to do. Motorists would usually slow down and yield to jaywalkers when they already give a gesture with their hands that they want to cross the street. It's a kind of mutual understanding that makes up our "street culture". Of course, sometimes accidents do happen, but, amazingly, they are very rare.
The government has of course made the necessary efforts to promote the use of pedestrian crossing bridge. There are laws and regulations that give protection to pedestrians who use the crossing bridge or the zebra cross to cross the street (a legal protection that is not given to jaywalkers), but without enforcement, the old habit seems to die hard.
It's good to see that more and more people begin to use the pedestrian crossing bridge like in the top photo which I took on Jalan Raya Cimahi, a town about 12 kilometers west of Bandung. (Cimahi is administratively a separate municipality, but it is still part of the Greater Bandung area.)
I took the bottom photo on Asia Afrika Street (Bandung's main street and city center). A similar picture that I took has won a prize worth $US 200 from Reader's Digest Asia and been published in its May 2008 edition. You can check it out here.