Jaywalkers Fined

Police officers mounted an anti-jaywalking operation at the Algarve Forum shopping centre in Faro recently and fined various shoppers for crossing at inappropriate areas. A total of 11 people were fined for not respecting the Highway Code’s instructions regarding the use of pedestrian crossings. Shoppers apparently expressed surprise and some anger at the six euro penalty. “The police should have warned us earlier about this,” said Abílio Carlos from Loulé.

“There are many far more serious cases of people disobeying the Highway Code and the authorities fail to act,” said Vítor Santos from Olhão, surprised with the fine and undecided about whether to pay up or not. “I think this is a robbery. There is a road near here with a speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour, but drivers pass by at 150 kilometres per hour and the police are never there,” he added.

But the Chief of Faro’s PSP, José do Carmo, defended his officers’ actions. “The code is there to be respected. The absent-mindedness of people about these rules leads to the deaths of between 200 and 300 people every year in Portugal. It’s vital that pedestrians know they should cross on designated areas. Pedestrians do not have absolute priority — they should cross only after checking that they have been seen by the driver.”