A heated debate has sparked among Ross residents over the contentious issue of pedestrians and drivers sharing the town centre.

A number of residents have taken to social media to air their grievances and share their experiences, with opinions ranging from frustration with reckless pedestrians to calls for a more considerate and shared approach to using the road.

One concerned motorist shared a recent near-miss experience, describing how an elderly lady abruptly walked in front of their vehicle without warning. Fortunately, thanks to quick reflexes and efficient braking, an accident was avoided, but it raises the question of where pedestrian priority laws apply and how they should be interpreted in practice.

Some commenters sympathised with the driver, arguing that pedestrians should not presume that cars will always stop for them. They pointed out that relying on drivers to always be attentive can put pedestrians in a vulnerable position. However, others defended the pedestrian’s actions, suggesting that the driver’s annoyance was unwarranted, given that they were driving slowly and had ample time to react.

Recent changes to the Highway Code have granted pedestrians and cyclists priority in certain situations. Many contributors agreed that the new laws can be confusing.

One individual offered a perspective from Canada, where traffic laws dictate that vehicles must stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the road. They expressed surprise at the lack of consideration for pedestrians in Ross-on-Wye and called for greater awareness and understanding of the new laws.

The conversation also touched upon the unique challenges faced by elderly pedestrians, who may have difficulty judging speed and distance or suffer from hearing or sight loss. Some commenters suggested that drivers need to exercise more patience and be prepared for unexpected situations when navigating busy town centres, while others highlighted the importance of using designated crossings and being aware of one’s surroundings.

Several others recounted their own experiences with inconsiderate drivers, citing instances where vehicles ignored double stop lines or pulled out of car parks without checking for pedestrians. Others pointed to the need for better road design.

Many commentators called for a shift in mindset among drivers, urging them to be more mindful of their surroundings and to share the road in a more equitable manner. One person made a compelling case for treating urban areas as shared spaces, where all road users, regardless of their mode of transportation, should be considered equally important and deserving of the available space.

Please get in touch with us about how you feel driving, walking, or cycling through Ross town centre; what might the council do to foster a smoother experience. Email [email protected] with your thoughts or contact us through social media.