Pedestrian Fines

When in Germany, you should only cross the street at designated pedestrian cross walks. Failing to cross at these areas could result in a fine and/or scornful looks from passing Germans. Germany is run by an overwhelming sense of civic order, so much so that even if there is not a car in sight, most pedestrians will not cross the street unless their trusty Amplemann is green.

Peru, however, is quite a different story. It’s a place where Alvaro says you must, “cross like a Peruvian” (meaning whenever and wherever you can) and where as he says, “you can never trust a stop sign.” Crossing the street in Peru is an adventure all by itself.

But today, that is all going to change. Today is the first day that Lima’s new laws regarding pedestrian crossings will begin to take effect. These consist of general laws that would help to keep order in any large city: don’t walk on the street, don’t get in/get out of a moving vehicle, don’t hang on to the outside of a moving vehicle, don’t walk in front of moving cars, don’t litter and cross only at designated areas. Each of these infractions, if broken, will come with a fine ranging from S./ 18 ($6) to S./ 108 ($36).

From what I have read, a majority of Limeans welcome the new laws, hoping that it will bring some sense of order to the chaotic traffic environment, however, it is met with one overwhelming criticism: there simply aren’t enough pedestrian crossings. The official response to this is that the pedestrian must then walk to the nearest crossing, though inconvenient, it is safer. Very true, however, in a city of nearly 8.5 million people the rare pedestrian crossing is not sufficient. The only authorities who have the power to impose these fines are the Transit Police, can they provide a large enough presence to deter over 8 million people from crossing in the middle of the street? I’m not sure. As Lima makes significant changes to their transportation infrastructure, this is a good step forward, and for now that seems good enough.