Sharing, courtesy, traffic laws, co-existing, a weekly Column, Page 1 of Lee's `Sharing' Column

SHARING the STREETS
A WEEKLY COLUMN
PAGE I - WEEKS 1 to 8


350 yr. old cactus near Petatlan, Mexico.
ATTEMPTING TO SHARE SOMEONE ELSE'S SPACE CAN OFTEN LEAD TO CONFRONTATION.
WE MUST ALL LEARN TO SHARE OUR DWINDLING SPACES

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Copy, in whole, or in part, without express permission of the author is illegal.

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A WEEKLY COLUMN - SHARING THE STREETS

Each Sunday I will add a new article, and photo, to this column.

SHARING THE STREETS
Week One - Introduction

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.

This week I introduce myself and next week I will start my column, about how we must share the space around us.

We are not alone on this overcrowded planet and as the population grows the space that is around us shrinks.

Road rage is becoming more prevalent as we increase the number of vehicles on our roadways and street rage is also becoming more common, as the number of people on the sidewalks increases.

Everyone wants to have their space and we all feel violated when someone enters our space uninvited. What we have to realize is that the space is not ours. All spaces belong to everyone and though we may momentarily fill a space, as we move about, we are only using it temporarily, as was the person before us, as is the next person to come along. If one or more persons should occupy the same space at the same time we must all realize that this is inevitable and should not become upset by it.

As well as spending a lot of time and miles as a pedestrian, I have driven professionally for over thirty years. I have driven police cars, taxis, busses, and trucks. I have driven tractor trailers from coast to coast accumulating over one million accident free miles.

Laws quoted in this column are those of: The Motor Vehicle Act of the province of British Columbia Canada; and the Traffic By-laws of the City of Vancouver.

Next week I will share with you my optimistic, and futuristic, view of how technology will cure road rage and automotive air pollution.

END

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Two - Computerization

by
LEE A. WOOD


New cars are far more sophisticated than the few transistors that started the trend with the `66 Rambler.

The population of the world is continually growing. As each person reaches that magic age they all want to own a vehicle. Nowhere is this more evident than on downtown streets. Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.

Cars today are partially computerized, newer cars will be even more so. Some vehicles are partially powered by electricity and a couple are completely electric. In the not too distant future; fuel burning, and atmosphere polluting vehicles, and most of the motor vehicle act, will become as obsolete as service stations.

Speed signs will be replaced by transmitters. A sensor in your car will pick up the signal and your car will not be able to move at speeds above the posted (unposted) limit.

If you are travelling too slow and impeding others a computerized voice will tell you to pick up your speed. (Sure wish we had that now.)

If you turn on your signal light the car's computer will pick up a signal from a sensor and the voice will tell you, "You may not turn left at this intersection between three and six PM. Please proceed to the next intersection and turn right."

Sensors will pick up the lines in the road and prevent you from changing lanes or passing when it is dangerous to do so.

Gone will be the fun and exhilaration of careening through traffic. Gone will be the danger and mayhem of fools behind the wheel. Gone will be the long hours the police officer has to stand in the rain while the ambulance crews remove human remains from a twisted hunk of metal.

But those cars and those days are not here yet. In the meantime we must all learn to control ourselves, and our vehicles. We must learn the rules of the road so that at the end of each hectic day we can return to our loved ones safely.

And, if it is our day off and we are just goofing about, there are still rules that we should obey to help make our leisure time more enjoyable. In this column I will give you some safety and courtesy tips, courtesy of the many years that I have spent as a driver and a pedestrian.

I hope you enjoy my comments and criticisms over the next year. As I have learned from you I hope you will learn from me. Vancouver is a beautiful city. With a little courtesy and common sense we can all enjoy and share the streets.

Next week I want to talk about backing up at intersections.

Lee has been driving professionally for over thirty years. He has driven police cars, taxis, busses, and trucks. He has driven tractor trailers from coast to coast accumulating over one million accident free miles.

Comments in this column are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily shared by this website.

END

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Three - Backing Up - Part One

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.


Backing up in an intersection.

What did you do the last time you were stopped at an intersection and the vehicle in front of you started to back up? Did you honk your horn? Did that accomplish anything besides irritating everyone around you? What should you have done?

If the vehicle in front of you needs to back up you should check your mirrors and windows very carefully to see if there is a vehicle or pedestrian behind you. If there is a pedestrian behind you, you should do nothing more, other than give the driver in front of you a hand signal saying, "Sorry, no can do".

If there are no pedestrians behind you but there is a vehicle behind you, slip your vehicle into neutral, pump the brakes a few times so your brake lights will flash and get the attention of the driver behind you, slip your selector in and out of reverse a couple of times to make your backup lights blink on and off so the driver behind you will know that you want to back up, then slowly back up, allowing time for the driver behind you to go through the same sequence with the driver behind him.

Eventually the entire line of vehicles will be able to back up and allow the front vehicle to get back to where he wants to be.

Why does he want to be further back then where he is? You will find out when he gets there, maybe. You might not. You might never know why he wanted to back up. It doesn't matter. The fact is that he wanted to back up and you allowed him to do so. It's called courtesy driving.

Just remember this, if you can't do it safely it isn't courtesy, it's dangerous.

END

More about this in next week's column.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Four - Backing Up - Part Two

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.


If it isn't safe to move forward, or to back up, keep your foot firmly on the brake.

Last week we talked about backing up a vehicle at an intersection. We said we didn't know why the vehicle wanted to back up. Let's look at one of the reasons why he might want to back up.

We have all been in this position, we are trying to get through an intersection and the light turns amber, because of traffic we can't clear the intersection. The light turns red, we are still stuck in the intersection.

First off, we should never have been in this situation. You should never enter an intersection if you can't get all the way through it. This includes clearing the crosswalk on the far side.

It happens; we aren't paying enough attention, we misjudge how fast the traffic in front of us is moving, some clown pulls out of the side street and fills in the hole we were going to fill.

It happens to you and it happens to me. It shouldn't, but there we are, stuck in the intersection.

What are the consequences. For one, we are in an intersection and could get a ticket for illegal parking (MVA Sec. 189 (1) (a, b, c d, e). If we are blocking cross traffic we could get a ticket for obstructing traffic.

The first thing that you should do in this situation is to ignore all the people yelling, and honking, at you. Do not let their ignorance, or impatience, rush you into making a mistake.

Carefully consider your options. Are there pedestrians behind you? If so don't back up. If there are no pedestrians behind you, try flashing your back up lights and see if you can back up.

If you can't back up, can you go forward? Are there pedestrians in front of you? If there are, keep your foot firmly planted on the brake.

If there are no pedestrians in front of you, will the traffic allow you to move forward?

Turn the corner if you have to, even if you had wanted to go straight. Going around the block could be safer, and less costly, than continuing to block traffic.

Just remember this, if you can't do it safely, don't do it. The light will only be red for sixty seconds. It is better to suffer sixty seconds of embarrassment that to live with a life time of regret because you backed over a pedestrian or stepped on the gas and rammed another vehicle.

END

More about this in next week's column.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Five - Backing Up - Part Three

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.


Vehicle trapped on a crosswalk.

Two weeks ago we talked about backing up a vehicle at an intersection. We said we didn't know why the vehicle wanted to back up. Let's look at how we, as pedestrians, could help him do it safely.

As pedestrians we have, when the sign says walk, the right of way over traffic. However, we, as citizens, owe it to our fellow citizens to be courteous.

If we are trying to cross an intersection and there is a vehicle blocking the crosswalk, what should we do?

Rather than curse him or kick his vehicle we should take the time to see what he is trying to do. Maybe if we just stood back and gave him a few seconds of our valuable time he would get out of our way.

If we all just surge around him we put him in a position of being unable to move safely.

If we walk behind him he may back over us. Did you look to see if his backup lights were on?

If we walk in front of him it may put us so far into the intersection that we may get struck by a passing vehicle.

Perhaps it would be safer to wait and catch the next light, after all it is only another 2 minutes away. Better to stand on the curb in the rain for two or three minutes than to lie on the street in the rain for two or three hours while we wait for the ambulance to take us to the hospital.

END

More about this in next week's column.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Six - Backing Up - Part Four

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.


The larger the vehicle the more of the street it needs to turn the corner.
The further you stay back out of the way the easier it is for them to turn and the safer it is for you.
Why do we want to make room for big vehicles to turn the corner? One of the reasons is that once the big bus or truck is out of the way it makes it easier for us to get through the intersection when it is our turn.

Another reason is just because it is a courteous thing to do.

Why do big vehicles need so much room to turn a corner you ask?

Trace the corner of this page of paper with your finger. Imagine your finger tip is a small car. When you get to the corner you are able to keep your finger near the edge of the page as you round the corner. Now use a piece of string and drag it along the edge of the paper and around the corner.

Notice how the front of the string, held by your fingers, can stay near the edge as you go around the corner but the tail of the string tends to cut the corner. The longer the string the more it cuts across the paper.

This is exactly what happens with a big vehicle, from limos to tractor trailers, the longer the distance between the steering axel and the back wheels the more room they need to turn the corner.

The driver swings the front of the vehicle as wide as possible to avoid the back end running over the front of a vehicle or your toes if you are standing too close to the curb.

For safety's sake, if not for the sake of courtesy, back up, or step back, and allow the big vehicle room to turn safely. The sooner he is out of the way, the sooner you can proceed.

Next week we will talk about courtesy on the sidewalk.

END

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Seven - Sharing a Sidewalk- Part One

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.

NO PARKING?
I DIDN'T SEE A SIGN
(Pic. of car on sidewalk.)
The law says that cars and bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks.
Guess this fellow never studied law.

*****

There is an old saying, `You have to walk before you can run'.

We have to learn to be pedestrians before we can operate a vehicle safely.

Sidewalks are an important part of a street and, in fact, are included in the `Street and Traffic By-law # 2849, City of Vancouver'. (See Section 3, Definitions, Street.)

Many people don't realize that pedestrians, bicycles (City of Vancouver, Street and Traffic By-law # 2849, Section 3, Definitions, Vehicle.), and motorcycles, as well as cars and trucks, are included in the term `traffic'. (City of Vancouver, Street and Traffic By-law # 2849, Section 3, Definitions, Traffic.)

Sharing the sidewalk is an integral part of sharing the street and should be learned as a youth so that we will carry these good habits into adulthood and the operation of motor vehicles.

I laughed the other day, as I was walking towards a narrow part of the sidewalk, an oncoming pedestrian, and myself, would have to squeeze between a low awning on the front of a store and a power pole. At the same time, we both raised our umbrellas to allow the other to pass underneath.

This is what sharing is about, common courtesy.

Next week, more about courtesy on the sidewalk.

END

SHARING THE STREETS
Week Eight - Crosswalks- Part One

by
LEE A. WOOD

Each of us can help reduce `Road Rage' by simply being courteous to our fellow users of the streets.

CLOSED CROSSWALK
(Pic. of closed crosswalk.)
Sometimes crosswalks are posted closed.

Last week I mentioned that the `Motor Vehicle Act' includes bicycles as well as cars under the term `vehicle' and that they include `sidewalks' in their `rules of roadways'.

What a lot of people don't realize is that crosswalks fall under the laws that pertain to sidewalks. [MVA Sec. 119 (1) (a).] A crosswalk is simply an extension of the sidewalk from one side of the roadway to the other.

wherever there is a sidewalk approaching a street there is a crosswalk crossing it. If it is a `T' intersection, where one street meets another but doesn't continue on the other side, we have three crosswalks. At a normal intersection where one street crosses another, we have four crosswalks. Unless, for some specific reason, the city has put up signs to close one of the crosswalks.

As an example, where Hamilton St. meets Hastings St. W. both crosswalks crossing Hastings St. have been closed as they are too close to the crosswalk at Cambie St.

If the city has not marked a crosswalk closed every intersection has at least three crosswalks.

A lot of people believe that a crosswalk only exists if there are lines painted on the pavement. Picture smaller communities that have gravel or dirt streets, how do you paint lines on dirt?

In a city such as Vancouver dirt or gravel streets are very rare but the city has neither the manpower nor the budget to paint lines for every crosswalk. Drivers and pedestrians are expected to be able to visualize where the crosswalk would be, from sidewalk to sidewalk.

END

Next week we will look at the locations of crosswalk.

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