Walking into danger
That was the lesson given to Bruce Wayne by Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins.
Everyone on the roads has to do this, motorists or pedestrians
The proposed amendment to the Road Traffic Bill, if passed, will outlaw holding a mobile phone and making a call while driving.
Maybe we should outlaw mobile phone use while crossing the roads too.
As much as motorists are wondering about the proposed amendment and how they will be enforced, there have been mutterings for the longest time about how pedestrians do not seem to understand blind spots, and tend to stroll down roads in residential estates, distracted by chatter and mobile phones.So I decided to go on a street test to find out how many pedestrians were putting themselves at risk.
Glued to phone
In Choa Chu Kang, pedestrians, especially those who alight from buses, seemed preoccupied with their mobile phones.
From inside a car, I patrolled the neighbourhood with a remote controlled camera.
Driving into an estate at night, pedestrians were spotted walking in the middle of the road. Some moved to the side, but others did not react at all to my car in their way.
Even flashing the headlights had no effect on some of these pedestrians, who continued to talk or play online games on their mobile phones.
Talking while crossing
On Wednesday afternoon, I set off on my motorcycle, armed with a helmet-mounted video camera.
In areas like Geylang and Little India, jaywalking was rampant.
I saw a group of five pedestrians deep in conversation while crossing a side street I was turning into.
I had an eye on my speed, knowing that the pedestrians were awfully distracted as they are.
With many walkers, I was within "touching" distance before they noticed me.
Perhaps the most extraordinary encounter was a woman with a child in a pram who was walking along Dunlop Street in Little India.
She caused a six-vehicle jam while remaining blissfully ignorant.
Even my honking did not seem to get her attention. After pushing the pram for about 20m, she decided to carry on her journey on the five-foot way.
Awed by architecture
In Serangoon Road, I came across a group of tourists walking in the centre of the road, fascinated with the surrounding architecture.
We do have some amazing buildings, but admiring them should not be at the expense of safety.
I was moving slowly. Yet nobody noticed me, even with a colourful helmet, white riding jacket and riding a lime-green bike with the headlights switched on.
It was only when I was less than 2m away that an adult in the group signalled her children to move to the side.
What can pedestrians do to be safe?
■ Use pedestrian and zebra crossings, overhead bridges and underpasses.
■ Raise a hand while crossing to alert motorists.
■ Do not cross roads at blind spots. Motorists will not be able to see you in time and vice versa.
■ Walk on pavements instead of the roads.
■ Wear something bright when walking at night.
So what have I learnt?
Many pedestrians are alert, but some use roads as if they have blinkers on.
Some are oblivious to oncoming traffic. In such situations, motorists would have to engage in last-minute manoeuvres to avoid them.
It seems that in more populated areas like HDB estates, the level of alertness on the road drops drastically compared to areas where the roads with a higher speed limit.
Like errant motorists, pedestrians who put their lives in danger have been caught, too.
Last year, there were a total of 9,739 jaywalking violations. In the first six months of this year, 3,286 were caught, according to the police.
Pedestrians are vulnerable. Last year, there were 43 pedestrian fatalities as compared to 44 in 2012.
In the first six months of this year, 19 pedestrians were killed.