On patrol in the city with loudspeakers at the ready

More loud voices are being heard these days on the streets of Athens, not because of the heat, but because of a decision by Attica Traffic Police head Brigadier Panayiotis Adamidis to introduce the use of loudspeakers in patrol cars so officers can call out to anyone breaking the highway code. «The public needs to be educated. Often suggestions and instructions can be very effective,» said Adamidis. On a short patrol through the streets of the city, Adamidis launched the measure himself and congratulated drivers who respected the traffic code. At an intersection on Mesogeion Avenue, Adamidis’s car stopped at a red light. Within a few seconds, seven motorcyclists had passed in front of the patrol car, ready to take off when the light changed. All were wearing helmets. «The Magnificent Seven,» boomed Adamidis’s voice over the loudspeaker. The motorcyclists turned and waved. Further along the road, Adamidis’s car met up with two motorcyclists not wearing helmets. «You are completely unprotected,» Adamidis said to one of the drivers, who was bald. The second driver approached the patrol car and made an excuse about being a doctor and that the helmet irritated a medical problem he had with his nasal diaphragm. Adamidis simply reminded him that as a doctor he should be more aware and that his excuse was a weak one. All along the route, Adamidis had the opportunity to make exhortations to dozens of drivers and pedestrians. One of these fell on deaf ears, when again on Mesogeion Avenue, he saw a driver alongside not wearing his seat belt. The car windows were open. «Sir, please fasten your seat belt,» was the order over the loudspeaker. Dozens of occupants in the surrounding cars turned around, everyone except the driver of the car in question, even though the order was repeated twice, and even when the patrol car sounded its siren. When the light changed, he simply drove off.

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