GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A sad story arrived in the mailbox from canton Valais police this morning: a 90-year-old man who was hit while crossing the road Monday died of his injuries during the night. The accident took place in the village of Ollon. The man was in the yellow crosswalk area and the 24-year-old Russian woman who hit him was driving from Ban in the direction of Granges-gare, say police.
The pedestrian was thrown 15 metres by the impact.
Police have seized the car for the investigation.
I’m writing about this here, instead of on the news page, because it made me recall a conversation recently with a woman who has been in Switzerland for four years. “I didn’t know, when I came here, that you have to stop for people who are in one of those yellow crosswalks!” she told me. “I couldn’t figure out why all these people seemed to be mad at me!”
The speed limit in most towns is 50kph and the area covered by that often extends well beyond what appears to be the built-up area. Go 20kph over the limit and you risk having your license confiscated.
When in Switzerland, slow down to stay within the speed limit and please, remember the pedestrians: they have the right of way at crosswalks throughout the country.
That said, don’t be a foolish pedestrian: cross at crosswalks, but don’t assume the driver will stop for you!