snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Entertainment

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 18 August 2009, 07:21 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,561
Icon81 Pedestrian deaths at Abbey Road crossing

Comment: Abbey Road in London is famous for having the Beatles' last
studio album named after it. On the cover of the album is the iconic
photograph showing the four Beatles striding across the pedestrian
crossing outside the Abbey Road Studios. Many fans try to recreate this
photograph by walking across the crossing. However, Wikipedia's entry on
Abbey Road gives the following rather alarming information:

"Dozens of people are involved in accidents each year re-enacting the
iconic photo, including a number of deaths.[citation needed] Since 1969,
there have been over a hundred deaths at the crossing (although many of
these may not have been Beatles-enthusiasts, but merely
passers-by).[citation needed]"

Over one hundred deaths on a single pedestrain crossing in 40 years? This
seems extremely unlikely. The type of crossing used is known in the UK as
a 'zebra' crossing due to the black and white markings on the road and by
law all traffic must stop when a pedestrian walks out into the road when
using it. It will be visible from some distance due to the large orange
flashing globes on tall metal poles standing on both sides of the
crossing. The crossing will also be well illuminated at night. The
crossing is also in a residential neighbourhood with a 30 mph limit.

With over 100 deaths, knowing the safety conscious British Authorities
this crossing would have surely been changed at some point (tourist
attraction or not) to a pedestrian operated traffic light crossing or at
least speed bumps or some other safety measure installed. Yet it remains
exactly as it was in 1969. This number of deaths smells very fishy to
me. - it averages 2.5 a year, far too high for the local council not to
have removed it. How many deaths have there been on this crossing?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 18 August 2009, 11:02 AM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 7,541
Default

A few days ago it was the 40th anniversary of the famous photograph being taken. There has been a lot of coverage on television about the photograph (and probably the papers as well) - but not a mention of any accidents. Local residents were interviewed. They mentioned how annoying it is with people recreating the photograph, but none mentioned anything about accidents. Britain's roads are the safest in the world and I am sure we would not allow a crossing that is dangerous. The vast majority of British motorists observe zebra crossing rules very strictly.

A television report on the anniversary did say that the street name plate has been removed because whenever it is replaced it is stolen soon after.

Pop fans still cross Abbey Road (short BBC video)

On the video a taxi driver says that 'One day someone will get mown down.' However, he did not mention that anyone has actually been killed on the crossing.

A Day in the Life of Abbey Road - a slightly longer video report of the above This includes an interview with a lady from Westminster City Council and she mentions the problem of graffiti, but again nothing about any accidents.

Street party for Abbey Road anniversary (BBC News video)

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 18 August 2009 at 11:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 18 August 2009, 11:29 AM
JessBoo
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I would say it's probably safer than most other crossings. Most people driving round there would know about it anyway, and you're more likely to notice 4 people posing + someone with a camera then you are to see someone crossing the road normally.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 18 August 2009, 11:35 AM
Jay Tea Jay Tea is offline
 
 
Join Date: 09 October 2002
Location: gg gg
Posts: 13,909
Ponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
Britain's roads are the safest in the world and I am sure we would not allow a crossing that is dangerous.
Really? I thought the UK had quite a high RTA rate, and were up in the highest echelons regarding cyclist deaths, for example?

ETA: Just a quick glance at statistics reveals the UK being 'very' high in terms of accidents per mile travelled, but very low in terms of fatalities per capita.

Figures for 2004.

Last edited by Jay Tea; 18 August 2009 at 11:47 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 18 August 2009, 11:37 AM
SatansHobbit's Avatar
SatansHobbit SatansHobbit is offline
 
Join Date: 31 May 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,552
Icon106

Bang, Bang, Maxwell's silver Hummer came down upon their heads...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 18 August 2009, 12:05 PM
Floater's Avatar
Floater Floater is offline
 
Join Date: 24 February 2000
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 6,610
Default

And little did they know how many followers they'd get.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 18 August 2009, 12:43 PM
SatansHobbit's Avatar
SatansHobbit SatansHobbit is offline
 
Join Date: 31 May 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,552
Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
And little did they know how many followers they'd get.
We even had an Alaskan snopester doing it once.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 18 August 2009, 02:12 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,030
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Tea View Post
ETA: Just a quick glance at statistics reveals the UK being 'very' high in terms of accidents per mile travelled, but very low in terms of fatalities per capita.

Figures for 2004.
Where's the "very high" bit from? The last column in that table is deaths per billion km travelled, and although it's not sorted on that column (and the figure's not available for every country), the UK's figure is the lowest in the table at 7.5, unless I've missed a lower one. And we're fourth-best in deaths per capita among the countries listed too.

So in fact, according to that table, we are safest among the listed countries as far as deaths per distance travelled is concerned, and fourth safest in terms of deaths per capita.

Last edited by Richard W; 18 August 2009 at 02:20 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 19 August 2009, 10:32 AM
Jay Tea Jay Tea is offline
 
 
Join Date: 09 October 2002
Location: gg gg
Posts: 13,909
Ambulance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Where's the "very high" bit from? The last column in that table is deaths per billion km travelled, and although it's not sorted on that column (and the figure's not available for every country), the UK's figure is the lowest in the table at 7.5, unless I've missed a lower one. And we're fourth-best in deaths per capita among the countries listed too.

So in fact, according to that table, we are safest among the listed countries as far as deaths per distance travelled is concerned, and fourth safest in terms of deaths per capita.
'Very High' was from a completely different set of figures I seemto have failed to link to, concerning accidents, not fatalities. The UK has always had a good record concerning deaths on the roads, but this doesn't mean our roads are safe, just less fatal.

I'm trying to dig it up again now, as it also confirmed our grisly accident rate, graveyard cyclist stats and some other grim reading.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 19 August 2009, 01:42 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 66,900
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SatansHobbit View Post
Bang, Bang, Maxwell's silver Hummer came down upon their heads...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
And little did they know how many followers they'd get.
Franciscan Friars was my favorite.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 19 August 2009, 02:05 PM
Floater's Avatar
Floater Floater is offline
 
Join Date: 24 February 2000
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 6,610
United Kingdom

Here's a web cam pointing at the crossing (in the other direction).
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 19 August 2009, 02:43 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,861
Default

Four persons posing on the Zebra crossing would indeed be very safe.

I think anyone standing or crouching in the road not on the crossing to take the photograph would be in peril. Which is why I've passed up some good photos (of different things. The middle of the road was the best angle, but no thanks.) As a driver, approaching a zebra crossing, I temporarily divert a majority of the focus of my concentration to the crossing, and the possibility that there is someone using it or intending to. In that, I might not notice someone standing or crouching in the middle of the road a few tens of feet before the crossing.

Whether anyone has been killed in the process of imitating the album cover, let alone a hundred I have no idea.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 19 August 2009 at 02:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 19 August 2009, 03:21 PM
SatansHobbit's Avatar
SatansHobbit SatansHobbit is offline
 
Join Date: 31 May 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,552
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
In that, I might not notice someone standing or crouching in the middle of the road a few tens of feet before the crossing.
"Why don't we do it in the road, it won't be long?"
"Because you won't see me."
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 19 August 2009, 03:30 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,861
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SatansHobbit View Post
"Why don't we do it in the road, it won't be long?"
"Because you won't see me."


#No-one will be watching us...#

SCREECH! SPLAT!

ETA Too late to edit my first post, but I will add that when I take a photo, all my senses are concentrated on getting the moment right, and I certainly wouldn't notice a car coming up behind me.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 19 August 2009 at 03:41 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11 September 2009, 11:54 PM
TrishDaDish's Avatar
TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
Join Date: 22 February 2004
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Posts: 7,662
Icon106

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Franciscan Friars was my favorite.
I have to go with Various Artists "Here Comes the Sun: A Reggae Tribute to the Beatles". Mostly cause they painted the stripes on the road. Which is awesome.

I'm surprised no one got their geek on with the Various Artists "The Exotic Beatles - Part 3". I mean, isn't that a Dalek pretending he's John Lennon?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 15 September 2009, 09:40 AM
Embra's Avatar
Embra Embra is offline
 
Join Date: 01 June 2000
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 7,733
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
Here's a web cam pointing at the crossing (in the other direction).
Heh. Floater, that's a nice link isn't it, because you can use it to see people doing their recreations (Mr E and I visited it recently when he was making a birthday card for a friend born in August 1969).

At the time of posting there are some folk in white robes doing the crossing. (ETA: repeatedly!)

Also ETA that if there is a heightened risk of pedestrian injury at the crossing it islikely to be among those standing in the middle of the road with their back to oncoming traffic so that they can photograph their friends doing the recreation...

Last edited by Embra; 15 September 2009 at 09:45 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 15 September 2009, 10:37 AM
Radon Girl Radon Girl is offline
 
Join Date: 15 November 2005
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 159
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
ETA Too late to edit my first post, but I will add that when I take a photo, all my senses are concentrated on getting the moment right, and I certainly wouldn't notice a car coming up behind me.
At Abbey road there is an island with a statue on it in the road just near the crossing, it provides a perfect place out of the way of traffic to take photos from.

Or if you're concerned with your safety..... Photoshop!!

My daughter dancing on Abbey road.
Amelie crossing Abbey Road
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 15 September 2009, 12:37 PM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 7,541
Default

Photoshopped! Phew! I thought you had identical quadruplets for a moment. Well done to the driver of that car who is waiting patiently as your daughter waltzes across the crossing.

Incidentally, one of the reports I linked to earlier says that why people's photographs never look quite the same as the Beatles' original is that the photographer took the photo standing on a step ladder
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 15 September 2009, 12:53 PM
Radon Girl Radon Girl is offline
 
Join Date: 15 November 2005
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 159
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
Photoshopped! Phew! I thought you had identical quadruplets for a moment.
My sanity would not be what it is if there were 4 of her.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.