Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life as a raised zebra

Don't jaywalk.

This is serious business in Singapore. Here's an excerpt from a 2009 police force media release:

"Pedestrians who jaywalk commit an offence that entails a composition amount of S$20/-. If charged and convicted in court, the pedestrian is liable to a fine not exceeding S$1000/- or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the offender faces a fine not exceeding S$2000/- or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months."

Mind you, the fine in many US cities is considerably higher, it's just that there's no risk of prison time. But does anyone really get put in prison for jaywalking here? I kind of doubt it. However, there's some good signage, and that's the real reason for the post.

The pedestrian is instructed to use the crosswalks.

And here, the crosswalks are called "zebra crossings".

As I have just learned, that's the British English terminology. (Note also the spelling of "offense" in the press release.) The "raised" part? Well, that's because these are a crosswalk + a speed bump.

In my experience, most signs that warn drivers about crossings usually make reference to the thing that's going to be doing the crossing. And I guess this one does too, but with conflicting information: is it a man or a raised zebra?

The British traffic lexicon also includes the entries Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and the (elusive? mythical?) Pegasus crossings, but I've yet to see signs for those here.

I have seen plenty of scofflaws jaywalking their way across the street though.


Orange Pippin said...

um... You've failed to mention that you, yourself, have been chased across the street by a Chicago police officer for jaywalking. Scofflaws indeed. Thank goodness for the LSA escape route!

Elisa said...

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone about that :-) We were lucky it was before that crackdown when Mayor Daley wanted a $500 fine.

schwa said...

So what's the ziggy zaggy white line on the side of the road? Was the painter drunk?

Elisa said...

Good guess, but no. The zig-zag in this case is a warning for the upcoming zebra crossing. Note the different types of ziggy zaggy lines for different warnings: