To be honest this isn't the way I thought it would happen. After years of dodging distracted pedestrians around the CBD, most of them oblivious to the fact that roads can often be used by cars, I had imagined a low speed collision with minor injury bringing the issue to a head.
Then there are the infuriating moments as you navigate your way around a blind bend only to come across a rental car positioned inappropriately in the middle of a state highway snapping photographs of a few tidy looking kiwi sheep. How this situation has not ended in tears for careless occupants is more through extreme fortuitousness than any form of good management or sound decision making on the tourists behalf.
It may seem to many arriving in Southern New Zealand that they have come across some sparsely populated outpost where cars are few and far between and the odd horse and wagon may still pass you by? This could be lulling our foreign guests into a false sense of security resulting in poor road safety both as pedestrians and as drivers? or is it just that when you go on holiday you let your guard down, often leave the brain at home and think that wandering out into the middle of Beach Street in front of oncoming traffic, stopping mid-stream to convulses with your fellow poor decision makers about which tacky souvenir shop you’re going to visit next is a sensible course of action?
I've been to many Asian, America, European and Australian cities and there isn't one where I don’t fear for my life when trying to navigate inner city streets or major roadways so why is it a good majority of our overseas visitors are happy to stand on a highway taking a photo, gaze up at the stars from the roadside at night or cross a CBD street in front of a stream of traffic without looking up from their iPhone or breaking conversation?
We might have the gift of wide open space but that’s no excuse for you to act like there is wide open space between you ear’s, our roads are dangerous too so be careful out there.
Mark writes a regular column for the Mountain Scene - View HERE
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