You're never too old to get hit by a car - so stop, look and listen to my advice about crossing the road

Plus, the German education minister who plagiarised her thesis 33 years ago

Share
Related Topics

Say goodbye to Tufty the Squirrel. Road safety adverts for children – which have been on TV one way or another since the 1960s – are being axed. Budgets at the Department of Transport have been reprioritised, a usage which has surely caused Orwell to spin in his grave. We’re all in this together, you’ll recall. Particularly those of us whose heads are near bumper height. With the next generation having to take their chances, I would like to provide this handy guide to road crossing at any age:

1 Look both ways before you cross. Then look again. Is that erratic driver swerving because he or she is pothole-dodging, on the phone, or drunk? Err on the safe side: don’t cross.

2 Follow step 1 even when it’s a one-way street. That high-pitched whining sound is someone reversing at speed in the opposite direction to the way the arrows are pointing. Leap out of the way. Try not to learn or recall any of the names the driver just called you.

3 Be aware of the “They Don’t Mean Me” philosophy. Many drivers think that rules, like taxes, are for the little people. Why stop at a zebra crossing, or even a red light, when it’s so inconvenient? They don’t mean me, thinks the driver who swoops through, one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding mobile phone to ear. This driver is a sociopath. Stay on the pavement.

4 Listen before you step into the road. If you hear a car, don’t cross. If you don’t hear a car, check you’re not about to be mown down by a Prius. I once borrowed one of these hybrids, and had to put my head on the steering column to tell if the engine was running. Shhh.

5 Anyone driving an SUV or similar anywhere other than on rough terrain is an idiot. Chances are they’ll drive like one. This is doubly true if the driver is the only person in the car.

6 Any minor inconvenience to a driver means they are owed one by the world. This includes you. If a lane is closed, for example, this justifies swerving into another lane without indicating, and speeding for the next five miles. Observing other road-users is now optional. Don’t cross.

You must be Schavan a laugh

The Germans are brilliant at creating compound nouns, like Blitzkreig (lightning-war) so it seems right to applaud any chance for them to create another. And the plight of former education minister Annette Schavan is just such an opportunity.

Ms Schavan has had to resign from her post, after being stripped of her doctorate last week by Heinrich Heine University, which has alleged that she plagiarised her thesis, 33 years ago.

For the education minister – who oversees universities amongst other duties – to resign in such circumstances is so horribly apt that Schadenfreude (harm-joy) doesn’t really cover it. Surely no one would take joy in her downfall, unless they were her political enemies. But a word needs to be coined to describe the ugly satisfaction one gets when something simultaneously so neat and nasty occurs. Schavan-freude?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

General election 2015: Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence