Yesterday, a reader of The Coast Magazine here in Halifax wrote this op-ed piece simply titled “I am a pedestrian, and I am idiot”. In short, the article addresses the new pedestrian fines imposed by the city of Halifax, and how this one particular Haligonian does not believe they are fair.
I haven’t completely decided what I think of these new rules just yet. On the one hand, I do agree that almost $700 seems like a bit of a hefty fine for jaywalking. Particularly when the distracted driving fine in Nova Scotia is only $237.50. However, based on some things I’ve seen pedestrians do here in Halifax when I’ve been behind the wheel, I think the fine is absolutely justified. Just today for example, as I was waiting to turn onto Brunswick Street coming up Prince, a man walked right out across the crosswalk when I had a green light. He didn’t even look at me until he was in front of my vehicle, and let me tell you it was not the first time I’ve seen it.
However in the article, the author Amy MacLay Patterson points out that pedestrians can often be dealing with other issues that may distract them, and situations like I described earlier are not always the case. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more. Halifax drivers are often no better, as I’ve seen countless vehicles blowing through crosswalks with people in them. Also, people tend to forget that every intersection is a crosswalk, and pedestrians more often than not do have the right of way. It’s a hard debate to figure out which side I’m on, but one thing is for certain; there are far too many vehicle-and-pedestrian collisions in this city, and only time will tell how the new fines will affect those statistics.