green man, red light

walking

I cross a busy junction in London regularly, and noticed something yesterday as I waited with maybe sixty or seventy other commuters.

It’s a pedestrian crossing, so comes complete with red and green men.  The crossing is on a bend in the road. A busy road in Central London.

The traffic lights began to change, amber to red, signalling the traffic to temporarily cease its urgent flow through the arteries of the capital.

Around me, several people urged forward as the red traffic light shone brightly.  Some cast a glance at the vehicles looming down on the crossing, presumably to check that the drivers were obeying the rules of the road. I moved forwards too, moving around someone in front of me; someone diligently waiting for the little green man to shine his instructive self.

Across the other side of the road, the other 50% of the crossing pedestrians were also dividing into two groups for a couple of seconds.  Those who acted upon the traffic signal and those awaiting the pedestrian signal.  A melee briefly ensued as human beings paused, thrust forward, side stepped and chose.

I wondered about motivations.

Rule breakers and rule followers?
Safety conscious and risk takers?
Aware of bigger picture and focused on linear instruction?
Patient and impatient?

How did we divide up and were these behaviours and motivations present in other aspects of each of our human lives?

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