Here, in Britain, arguably the world’s leading nanny state, health and safety is rammed down your throat at every opportunity.
Cynical me thinks it’s done more to keep the legal compensation sharks away from the door more than for a concern for safety itself. Having said that, the number one rule for health and safety, at least in the workplace, is looking out for your own safety first.
Why then do people in general every day situations tend to put themselves into danger all the time without even thinking about it. Perhaps that’s it. SOme of the problem is that so many of us are so absorbed into our gadgets these days, usually involving a cellphone – either making a call, or reading messages, listening to music, or watching video, that we simply don’t look where we’re going.
But it’s not just that.
Time and time again I see people jaywalking. When I was growing up we didn’t have a variety of road crossings named after various animals. Just one, the Zebra. I was taught that you stopped at the crossing, ascertained that either the road was clear to cross, or that the traffic had actually stopped at the crossing to allow you to cross. You were then supposed to walk (but never run) across the crossing, staying on the crossing itself. Doesn’t happen these days. When driving you have to be a mind reader as people just suddenly swivel at 90 degrees, and walk out without looking, and without giving vehicles time to stop. When walking, trying to get moving vehicles to stop so you can cross can be a frustrating waiting game.
Car doors are another danger. Not just to cyclists, but to any road user, when the car driver or passengers just open the doors without looking, particularly on the offside on narrow streets.
I really don’t understand this mentality. I always look before putting myself into any kind of danger. For example, I’ll walk under a ladder rather than walk into the street to get around it and get run over, but I’ll always look up too, in case there’s a danger of something falling from above.
Looking out for your own safety only takes a second or two, but can save injury or worse.
Looking out for other people’s safety is just as important too, and often a necessity when people don’t look out for themselves!