This morning I went on my normal Saturday morning shopping round (bread, cheese, fruit, newspaper). On the road near my house stood an old man, sitting on his tricycle. He stopped me, and asked “Where am I?” I told him, and I asked where he wanted to go. To the Figi hotel he said, which is about 400 meters from where we live. “I can not see very well”, he continued. “Sometimes it is better, but today is a bad day. If I am near Figi, I will recognize it again”. I pointed him in the right direction, but wondered if I should let him go. Maybe he had gone for a ride without permission, maybe he escaped from his retirement home. “Where do you come from”, I asked. He mentioned an address. He certainly did not make a disturbed impression. I asked if he could manage, and he said yes, certainly, I do this every week. And off he went. Almost blind, cycling very slow. I watched him go. It did not look very safe, but I decided to continue my usual route.
Question: should I have intervened? Should I have exercised my “Stop Cycle Authority”?
In the company I work we have a strong Health & Safety culture. Often mentioned is the “Stop Work Authority” that everybody has. If you see a (potential) dangerous situation, you should intervene and stop the work. These kind of situations do not only occur on construction sites, but also in the office. People walk up the stairs with two cups of coffee. people stand on a chair to pick up some papers high in the cupboard. If you see this, you have act. On the road it is more difficult. More than one I find myself in a taxi where the driver drives too fast, is driving too dangerous or is using his mobile phone (and often a combination of these). You know you have to ask the driver to slow down, to put down the phone as you want to get safely from A to B. More than one I just sat in the back of the car, thinking but not using my “Stop Driving Dangerously Authority”.
Should I have stopped the tricyclist? Maybe yes, maybe no. I hope he arrived safely in the hotel for his Saturday morning coffee.