Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Morning rant - car drivers

Good morning everyone,

Hope you all have a good day today.  I started out my day the way I love to: writing a note to a city official about something I read in the paper. 

Best regards, Why's Woman

Dear ..........

Just read the Freeps article about the new pedestrian crossings. I'd noticed them.  Drivers may notice them more, but will they change a bad habit? (

I don't own a car. 

As a pedestrian, I absolutely hate it when cars come creeping up at me when I'm crossing the road.  Some will come within three or four feet.  I'm talking about situations when I'm still in the lane the driver is turning into, not once I've passed the driver's path.  Drivers forget the training from Driver Ed: if another car hits you from behind as you're are turning like this, your car goes in the direction your wheels are turned ... in this case, right into the pedestrian.  I'm old enough now, that I'll often stop and stand in front of the car and wave at and speak to the driver (no swearing, but enough expression that they get the gist). 

Also too, there are lots of situations where I'm stopped on a sidewalk corner, watching a driver looking left and looking left and looking left - never once looking to the right where I'm standing.  This is often at a corner like St. George/Oxford, when the driver is going to turn left/west from the south St. George; I'd be on the SW corner.  It is not unusual for a driver to move the car two or three feet forward before turning her/his head to look to the right.  I love the look on their face when I'm ready, waving both hands and smiling an exaggerated smile.  Boy do they jump!

And while I'm on about things ...

Blackfriar's Bridge, which we know many (if not most) drivers no longer treat as a two way bridge (and yes, I know there's discussion every two years about what to do with it).
How about starting with signs similar to those that are on the Western university (from Righmond Street) bridge?
1.  Do not pass on bridge
2. Do not pass bicycles on bridge
3.  Do not pass on yellow line (this on the approach to the bridge from the east side) 
... when I'm cycling (my other means of transportation), I go down this slope in the middle - to take command of the space and because the right hand edge is bumpy.  I've been counting. Three cars out of 5 pass me on this slope.  And I know they are at a speed above 20 km per hour (sometimes way above).  The fastest guys in particular are the ones who, if they can go right over the bridge without waiting for someone coming down the middle from the other direction, themselves go right down the middle - at well over 20 km. 

And, put in a Do not pass yellow line on the block approaching the bridge from the west side.
No doubt traffic lights on the two bridge approach are part of the every two year discussion?

Unfortunately, there are enough inattentive drivers that no number of signs and cautions will get through to them.  I couldn't tally up the number of times that, as both pedestrian and cyclist, I've had a driver say to me: "Oh, I didn't see you."  I've had a range of responses to this, probably depending on the fear-generated level I'm experiencing at the time.

Transit cameras and automatic tickets?

I'd love to see what Terry O'Reilly - the advertising guy - could do to craft a campaign directed to pedestrians and cyclists that humously starts from the idea that "You know car drivers are out to get you ... watch them every minute."  And have humour ways of dealing with the drivers - pop up signs from our grocery bags and backpacks.  STOP!  ...   DON'T MOVE!   ...   BACK! BACK!      Maybe the drivers that see them will think. Nah!.

There's my morning rant.

Thanks for listening. 

Best regards,

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