Thursday, 23 October 2014

Streets of London 2014 - an observation of current rules and behaviours

Coitus Interrupts or the Puller-Outer
Wants to pull out of a side road into the main road, glances briefly to the right, sees traffic and pulls out anyway.

The Non-Indicator
Does not use indicators perhaps because they require too much physical effort (that finger stretch can be really difficult) or because indicating intentions shows weakness, especially if turning right.

The Knee Jerk
Reacts immediately to the perceived insult of a toot by tooting back, longer, and usually louder.

The Turner Prize
In the wake of universal power-assisted steering, almost everyone who finds themselves facing the wrong way does a three-point turn. In a side road, in a main road, in front of other traffic, in front of schools, not yet on dual-cariageways but that will come soon enough.

Not So Merry-go-Round
It is obviously impossible to apply the same rules of roundabout priority to a mini-roundabout, that must be too complicated.

Swing Wide, Sweet Chariot
Is it really necessary to swing to the right-hand side of the road in order to turn left? In a mini? Didn’t need to when I was driving a Routemaster so even the Chelsea tractors have no excuse.

Right of Centre Status
It is obviously difficult to drive a large car on city streets, who knows where the left hand wing mirror is? Much safer to drive in the middle of the road, even if there are cars coming the other way - they can get out of the way.

The Non-Starter
Leaves a super-safe gap to the car in front so that three cars behind catch the red and have to sit through another cycle of the lights.

FU the Texterestrial
Uses the distraction of the text message just arrived to qualify instantly in most of the above categories (especially as non-starters).

The No-Thank-you
Lifting a hand from the wheel to acknowledge someone giving way is far too much trouble and shows weakness.

The Red Exception
If some extraordinary event such as roadworks, slow-moving traffic, a pedestrian or another car turning right denies you your perceived rightful passage through traffic lights then it is perfectly ok to go through a red light.

But let’s not fall into the four-wheels-bad->two-wheels/legs-good trap. So lest we forget:

The Handicap System
By which everyone on two wheels whether Grand P(r)izza scooter or granny with a shopping basket on a sit-up-and-beg has an in alienable right to be at the front of any queue.

Human Rights Lawyer
The pedestrian who knows the law about priorities on crossings and junctions so is happy to enforce that right by stepping in front of moving traffic, no matter how close, without pausing, or looking anywhere but straight ahead.

And the Monsoon Season (a rain shower) that instantaneously makes all of the above behaviours compulsory for everyone on the streets of London.

When I was learning to drive, my dad said that the definition of good driving ‘is to never force anyone else to brake’. Nowadays constantly testing other road users’ brakes is much more important. I will be interested to see how Google/Mercedes/Audi/Volvo self-driving cars deal with these behaviours, or will they be programmed to behave the same way to avoid being readily identified as robots (and thus, soft targets)?

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