Anthony on , , , 08 Jul 2008 09:20 am

Grrr, rant time.

This morning’s ride (commute) consisted of the following:

  • Being cut off by the same car twice, 3 blocks from home
  • Being cut off by a courier blindly turning right
  • Being confronted by a recycling truck coming at me the wrong way through a traffic circle
  • Being confronted by a car coming at me in the wrong lane on campus
  • Being behind a car that came to a stop at a 4 way stop, and stayed there.  I went around her and three blocks later I could still see she was stopped there.  The passenger didn’t seem concerned.

So, seriously?  A 10 km ride in the gorgeous sunshine and mild temperatures complete and utterly destroyed by idiot drivers.

There are some things I really dislike about Vancouver and the dumbass car (and bike) drivers rate highly.

Anthony on , 04 Jun 2007 06:58 am

OK, an early morning rant.

One of the (many) blogs I read is a local one called Beyond Robson. On the weekend, one of their contributors wrote a story about the flashing green lights in Vancouver. These are something that often cause confusion and disastrous results for people from away. In most other jurisdictions, a flashing green means that you have right of way while the opposing direction has a red light. Kinda like a green arrow and a green light wrapped into one. Here in Vancouver (and all BC) it means only that the signal is pedestrian controlled. That is, the light only turns red after a pedestrian (or cyclist) presses a button. Often in these situations, the cross-traffic direction has only a stop sign.

This creates an awkward situation sometimes, when the light is red for the busier direction. If you’re in a car or on a bike approaching along the cross-street direction and you see that the pedestrians have a walk signal (and therefore the main street has a red light) should you stop for the stop sign, or should you act as if you have a green light yourself?

Clearly the legal response is that, yes, you should stop for the stop sign. After all, it’s still a stop sign, and you don’t actually have a green light. In practise, if you were to actually stop in this circumstance, chances are high that you’d get rear-ended by the vehicles behind you who were not expecting you to stop. Oh, don’t get me wrong, some people stop but it’s a small number.

But that’s not what I wanted to rant about.

My rant is partially about Beyond Robson itself, and partly about know-it-all-and-refuse-to-acknowledge-when-they’re-wrongs. You see, part of the Beyond Robson post was:

… they inevitably repeat that I have a red light. ‘I don’t follow red lights, I follow the flashing hand and the walking man, of which there are none’ I say …

In a comment, I pointed out that this was not only wrong but dangerously wrong. I cited the correct part of the Motor Vehicle Act (Part 3, Section 129(4)). Pedestrians absolutely must obey traffic signals. Not doing so will get you injured, killed, or abused by raging drivers. The comment was held ‘for moderation’ (a typical happenstance). But guess what? It hasn’t appeared. 5 other comments appeared, all supporting the author. It seems to me that the author was unwilling to hear dissent. Or acknowledge that he was wrong. And in doing so, he highlights a typical problem in Vancouver. Out of control drivers who believe that they’re God on the roads (can do no wrong, know everything, omnipotent, etc) yet treat cyclists and pedestrians with contempt, out of control cyclists who believe that *they’re* God on the roads yet treat motor vehicles and pedestrians with contempt, out of control pedestrians … yeah, ditto. And then there’s the rest who have to put up and deal with all these idiots.

As someone who commutes 10 km by bike twice daily, I see a lot of stupid things. Mostly it’s dumb cyclists, followed closely by dumb motor vehicle drivers. Occasionally, it’s dumb pedestrians. For me, it’s the M.V. drivers who are the most dangerous since they make the most damage when we collide, but frankly any sort of collision is not going to be healthy for anyone. But encouraging people to cross against red lights is irresponsible, and I felt compelled to correct the record. Obviously BR doesn’t feel that they need to be socially responsible. Pity.