These days, we live in a culture where health and safety is considered to be of paramount importance above all else. Everything is secured and sanitised in order that the possibility of danger is kept to an absolute minimum, and for the most part, this is entirely correct. However, often health and safety rules, regulations and restrictions, dreamt up and put in place by well meaning lawmakers and council officials, are impractical, expensive and inconvenient. Nonetheless, they are forced upon us by these health and safety Nazis under the principle that “it’s for our own good” and that we need to be protected from danger (including ourselves) at all times.
Fine. It’s inconvenient and annoying but the principles are at the end of the day difficult to argue with, so I have to accept it. But there’s one area in which this culture of health and safety seems to be completely ineffectual, and I want to know why. I can’t speak for other places, although I suspect it’s much the same, but in Manchester there’s another annoying “culture”: Stupid pedestrians.
Why are the health and safety handwringers not doing anything to stop people from wandering out in the middle of the road without looking? Where is the council worker with his clipboard and his rulebook when there’s a mother with her push-chair standing between two opposing lanes of traffic waiting to cross the road 50 yards away from a pedestrian crossing? Where is the fat-pensioned civil servant from the Health & Safety Executive when the group of drunken tarts from the University with all their skin hanging out choose to walk along the double yellow lines of Oxford Road in the small hours of the morning instead of the empty pavement? Where is the patronising government advertising campaign that many people quite clearly need to tell them the purpose of and difference between the red man and the green man at traffic light crossings?
Stupid pedestrian culture is clearly very very dangerous, much more dangerous than not having a contrasting border around your electrical sockets, or having your kitchen worksurfaces above a certain maximum height, or not recording every single little bruise and graze in a fucking “accident book”. And yet, nothing is done about it. Why?
I know why. The question was rhetorical. It’s one thing to create rules, regulations and restrictions, it’s quite another to enforce them upon the unwashed masses. Controlling the public as they walk through the streets will be seen as an infringement on civil liberties, and the civil liberties/human rights handwringers can wring their hands a lot harder than any health and safety handwringer could possibly ever dream of doing.
It’s still not right though, and it fucking pisses me off.