Fair enough. I have no idea about the circumstances of the terrible accidents that continue to happen, and wouldn't wish my comments to be taken in reference to those accidents.
But every day I see pedestrians crossing irresponsibly. And, yes, I think that is stupid behaviour.
I think that one way to reduce accidents is for EVERYONE to act with more awareness of other road users. Which is why I find it unhelpful when people say that pedestrians should be exempt from that responsibility.
I'm a reasonably sensible adult. It's mainly my responsibility to cross roads in such a way that I don't get in an accident, or cause an accident for somone else. As a driver, I would expect that children and animals are likely to do unpredictable things, and I actively amend my driving behaviour accordingly. However, nowadays I also have to expect grown adults to decide to pop out into the road at random points and with little or no warning, in ways that even children and animals probably wouldn't.
Like BabyBat, I suspect this thread is going round in circles, and I don't think we're that far apart, Ivanhoe.
What I was trying to get at was this - If you think that, among pedestrians, there are a number of idiots, or people who might make a mistake, and put themselves in danger (which I think we both do), and you're driving in an area where there are pedestrians around (ie practically any urban road), you should surely drive in the expectation that one of the pedestrians may be in that group and put themselves at risk. That means going slowly enough to stop if they do, particularly if you're driving close to the kerbside.
With respect to where pedestrians are 'allowed' to cross, I understand, although I can't find the relevant Highways Act, that they are just one group of users of the public highway and, with the exception of motorways (where they are explicitly banned) they have as much right to be on the road as a car. However, they should use the road with consideration for other road users, as you say, Ivanhoe.
As you say, I don't think we are that far apart, Phil.
Where I'd differ is in stressing the element of personal responsibility on everyone's part. For example, you suggest that drivers should go sufficiently slowly to anticipate adults jumping out into the road. I agree with you up to a point, but I think your approach tends to exclude pedestrians from all blame and put the onus for attention on the drivers.
I'd like to think I do drive with a degree of anticipation. And, since I'm almost always on two (powered) wheels when I'm not walking, I pay extra attention, because if I have an accident I WILL be hurt (quite a different proposition to if I was in a car). But, as a typical example, I was coming down towards the bottom of Park Lane yesterday, heading south. At this point, the road is somewhere between 8 and 10 lanes (counting bus lanes) wide, with a large central reservation and barrier. I've been on smaller motorways. This is clearly not a place to expect pedestrians. Imagine my surprise when I had to take evasive action to make sure I didn't hit someone who was in between lanes 2 and 3, dressed predominantly in black, trying to cross the road in the evening rush hour.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that we're all road users, and that the only practical way forward lies in sharing the road. But I think that means shared responsibility (for drivers to be more aware, for pedestrians to show a bit of consideration and common sense).
I must say that since passing my motorbike test some years ago, I think I've been a much better pedestrian. It teaches you how easy it is to be in an accident, and helps you think about how not to cause an accident. I now think of crossing the road as an active thing which is worth my concentration. Something which I can do well, or poorly, and where my inability to do it well can have an impact on some other road user, which could possibly be dangerous to one or both of us. I would like the State to protect me from drivers who aren't concentrating, or who are driving too fast, are on the phone, etc. However, in other circumstances (i.e. most normal ones), I think that I need to take responsibility for my own actions. And if I do something stupid which contributes to me having an accident, I would expect to take my share of the blame.
It says that: "TfL has unveiled a list of 39 junctions being reviewed for safety". TBR - Abbey Street isn't on the list as far as I can see... could that be because the Mayor has already given a separate commitment to look at it? Or is it just that it isn't a big enough junction to be included? If anyone knows, please do share!