Sharing, courtesy, traffic laws, co-existing, a weekly Column, Page 2 of Lee's `Sharing’ Column

SHARING the STREETS
A WEEKLY COLUMN
PAGE II - WEEKS 9 to 17


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

Author's note:
All material on this website is covered by copyrite.
Copy, in whole, or in part, without express permission of the author is illegal.

COLUMNS ON THIS PAGE

SHARING THE STREETS
Week Nine - Crosswalks- 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.

CROSSWALK NOT BEING ENTERED PROPERLY
(Pic. of pedestrian entering from the street rather than the sidewalk.)
For safety sake, one should enter and exit a crosswalk at the end
not part way out in the street.
Note the solid line, outside the crosswalk line, on the far side of the street. It is a stop line.
Traffic should be stopped behind , not on or over, the stop line when stopped for a pedestrian, stop sign, or red light.

****
Last week I stated that crosswalks at intersections may not be marked. How then do we know where they are?

The inner edge, in terms of the intersection, of the crosswalk is a line from curb to curb. The outer edge of the crosswalk is a line from the edge of the sidewalk nearest the buildings it fronts. In other words it is simply an extension of the sidewalk, from one side of the street to the sidewalk, or where one would be, on the other side of the street.

The reason crosswalks are placed in this position is so that pedestrians can be easily seen by traffic that wishes to turn the corner.

Therefore it is important that pedestrians enter and exit the crosswalks at the sidewalk and not leave or enter the crosswalk part way across the street.

Not going right to the corner before entering the crosswalk, or by trying to save a few steps by leaving the crosswalk and cutting across the street at an angle to the sidewalk, can place a pedestrian in a blind spot behind a sign or a building. A driver turning the corner may think he has a clear path and run into you.

The few seconds you gain by cutting the corner is not worth the days or months you may spend in a hospital.

END

Next week we will look at using crosswalks safely.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week ten - Crosswallks 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.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

CROSSWALK BEING ENTERED PROPERLY
(Pic. of pedestrian entering the street safely.)
This pedestrian stepped off the curb to let traffic know he wants to cross but waited until it was safe to proceed.
It took me a long time to get this picture as most pedestrians walked into the street without looking in either direction. A few looked in one direction only and only a very small percentage actually stopped before leaving the curb.

****

Last week we learned where crosswalks are. This week lets learn more about using them.

A crosswalk is an extension of a sidewalk but we can't just walk into them because we have to share them with other traffic. Not share them in the sense that other traffic is going to use them to cross the street but in the fact that the street, and thus other traffic, crosses the crosswalk.

The law says that a pedestrian on a crosswalk has the right of way over traffic approaching the crosswalk yet we, as pedestrians, still have a fiduciary duty to see that the traffic has time to stop before we step into the crosswalk, MVA Sec. 179 (2).

Never run into an intersection. Many times I witness pedestrians that run to get into the intersection and then in the middle of the street slow down. Whether an intersection is or isn't controlled by a signal light you should always stop before stepping off the curb and check to see if it is safe to do so.

Stop, look, and listen. Take the time to be sure it is safe. Even if the light says walk it may not be safe to do so. Look both ways. Is there traffic coming? How fast is it approaching? Does it have time to stop if you step out in front of it? (If the traffic does not have time to stop safely the motor vehicle act gives the right of way to the traffic not the pedestrian.) Does the driver see you?

Listen. Is there traffic approaching that you can't see? Stepping into a crosswalk with the idea that you have the right of way, and traffic has to stop for you, is a good way to get hit.

Saying, "But I had the right of way", is small comfort while you lie in the street waiting for the ambulance.

END

Next week we will look at how to use a controlled crosswalk.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Eleven - Crosswalks- 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.

CROSSWALK BUTTON BEING PUSHED

(Pic. of pedestrian pushing a crosswalk button.)
Holding the button, or pushing it more than once, will not
speed up the timed sequence.

Last week we talked about how to use a crosswalk whether it is controlled or uncontrolled. This week let's talk specifically about controlled crosswalks.

A couple of weeks ago I said that many crosswalks found in the middle of a block have flashing green or amber lights. How do we use such a crosswalk?

There should be, on each end of the crosswalk, a pole that holds up the wires that hold up the flashing light. On the pole will be a push button. Simple, we push the button if we wish to cross the street.

How many times have you seen people push, and push, and push?

Though computers are a way of life most people don't really understand how they work. When we push the button to cross the street we are actually activating a tiny computer.

One push of the button is sufficient, unless the contacts inside the switch are corroded by the salt air that is so common on the coast and we may have to push it twice, to make contact.

The push of the button sends a signal to the computer telling it that you want to cross the street. The flashing light will turn to a steady light and after a few seconds the green will turn to amber and the amber will turn to red. The light will remain red long enough for you to cross the street and then return to flashing to allow vehicular traffic to proceed.

Approaching traffic should note the change from blinking to steady and begin to slow down and prepare to stop for the red.

END

Next week I will talk about signals at intersections.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week Twelve - Crosswalks - Part Five

by
LEE A. WOOD

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

WIRES
BURIED
IN THE
STREET

(Pic. of lines on pavement.)
At controlled intersections there are wires buried in the pavement.
If a vehicle misses these wires, or the vehicle, such as a small car
or bicycle, is too light, the wires won't activate the light switch.

Last week we talked about how to use a controlled crosswalk in the middle of the block and I said this week I would explain how controlled crosswalks work.

Some intersections are timed and there are no buttons to push. At these intersections the walk signs usually come on with the green light except for some exceptions in downtown Vancouver which I will talk about later.

At a controlled intersection that has push buttons the walk sign never comes on unless someone pushes the button.

Beneath the pavement are buried wires that form a magnetic field.

Often you will see small cars siting at an intersection waiting for the light to change. They may be sitting over the wires but the car doesn't have enough mass to activate the computer.

In this case the car should back up a couple of feet and hit the brakes. If this doesn't work try rolling ahead and again hitting the brakes. If this doens'[t work you should phone the city as the sensitivity of the magnetic field may have to be ajusted.

Though a car may activate the field and the light may change to green, it may only be a short green to allow one or two cars to cross but not long enough for a pedestrian, so the sign continues to say `Don't Walk'.

If a pedestrian wishes to cross he should push the button to activate the walk sign. When the light goes green the sign will say walk and the light will remain green long enough for a pedestrian to cross the street. The times will vary according to how wide the street is.

If the light doesn't change right away it is because the button only told the computer that you want a walk signal. The computer now has to calculate that information into its timing sequence. If the light changes as soon as you push the button it is just coincidence. Don't expect it to happen every time. Pushing the button more than once or holding it in will not speed things up. Pushing the button after the light has turned green will not put you into this sequence and you will have to wait for a complete rotation of the lights.

END

Next week we will talk about delayed walk signals.

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SHARING THE STREETS Week Thirteen - Crosswalks- Part Six
by
LEE A. WOOD

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

WHITE STICK MAN MEANS WALK

(Pic. of people and cars in crosswalk.)
At delayed intersections the walk signal comes on some time after the green light.
This causes pedestrians to enter an intersection that is being used by fast moving traffic.
A very dangerous situation.

Last week we talked about timed crosswalks at intersections. This week I want to talk about a Vancouver anomaly.

As a trucker I visit a lot of cities. From Fairbanks to Florida I have had days off in many cities. When I get the time I like to park the truck and catch a bus or SkyTrain downtown and see the city. I walk the parks and the shorelines.

In other words I spend a lot of time as a pedestrian and use a lot of crosswalks but only in Vancouver have I seen delayed walk signals.

There are several intersections in downtown Vancouver, such as Howe and Robson, that are very dangerous for pedestrian traffic because they have delayed walk signs.

When the light turns green for the cars pedestrians start into the street expecting the walk signal to come on, but it doesn't.

Vehicular traffic, seeing the don't walk signal, starts forward. Much confusion ensues in the middle of the intersection delaying all involved.

Then just when things are getting straightened out and vehicle traffic begins to move it is suddenly, and unexpectantly for motorists not used to downtown Vancouver, confronted with a walk signal and a surge of impatient pedestrian traffic.

This is a very dangerous situation as the pedestrians step off the curb demanding the right of way over high speed vehicles.

The fast moving vehicular traffic now has to suddenly stop and the vehicles further back in the line, seeing a green light, are suddenly presented with a vehicle stopping in front of them, for no known reason.

END

Next week we will talk about who should use a crosswalk.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week fourteen - Crosswalks- Part Seven

by
LEE A. WOOD

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

BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND

(Pic. of people and cars in crosswalk.)
Both feet beside the bicycle makes a cyclist a pedestrian.
Pedestrians are allowed to use crosswalks, cyclists aren't..

We have talked about how to use a crosswalk. This week let's talk about who should use a crosswalk.

The answer of course is pedestrians, and handicap vehicles. Let me define that. Pedestrians are people who have both feet on the ground. This excludes bicycles and other vehicles.

Oh, I can hear you crying now, "A bicycle is not a vehicle".

Sec. 183 (1) of the MVA, Motor Vehicle Act, says that bicycles must obey the same rules as a car, and unless the sign specifically states, as it does on some bridges, a bicycle may not use a sidewalk, (MVA Sec. 183 (2) (a), which includes crosswalks.

Many times I have seen cyclists on a crosswalk, sitting, or half sitting, on their two wheel vehicles, with one or both feet on the pedals waiting for a break in the traffic.

Until both of your feet are on the ground you are not a pedestrian, you are not allowed to use the crosswalk, and traffic is not required to stop for you.

If you want the right of way over other vehicles, simply swing your leg over the bar, or fender, put both feet on the ground, and become a pedestrian.

And don't forget, the opposite is true. If you are a bicycle cruising down the street you are a vehicle and are required, as is a car, to stop for a pedestrian on a crosswalk.

END

Next week we will define the terms `Pedestrian' and `Jaywalker'.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week fifteen - Crosswalks- Part Eight

by
LEE A. WOOD

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

CROSSWALKS NOT AT AN INTERSECTION.

(Pic. of crosswalk.)
Crosswalks are sometimes in the middle of a pedestrian busy block.

I have driven in hundreds of cities and nowhere but in Vancouver have I noticed that drivers stop for pedestrians in the middle of the block but zoom past pedestrians standing in a crosswalk waiting for a break in the traffic.

A couple of weeks ago I said that not all crosswalks are marked. Let me add that not all crosswalks are at corners.

Sometimes, such as in the middle of Gastown, you will find crosswalks in the middle of the block. Crosswalks that are in the middle of the block will always be marked either with lines or signs. Quite often, such as in school zones, they will have flashing green lights.

There is never a crosswalk in the middle of a block that is not lined or signed, yet many is the time I see vehicles stop for pedestrians trying to cross the street in the middle of the block.

Drivers should note that in this instance I used the word `pedestrian' incorrectly. If a person is trying to cross a street where there is no crosswalk they are not a pedestrian they are a jaywalker, and jaywalking is illegal. (City of Vancouver By-law 2849 Sec. 12 (1)

Stopping for a Jaywalker not only compounds their illegal action but is highly dangerous as the traffic behind you is not expecting you to stop in the middle of the block and you stand a good chance of getting rear ended.

As well, jaywalkers are often timing their crossing of the street with the ongoing traffic. If a cars slows or stops for the jaywalker it could throw out his timing which would have taken him behind said vehicle. Traffic should only stop for a jaywalker if it is absolutely necessary, ie. to avoid hitting the jaywalker.

END

Next week we will talk about headlights. To the Top of this Article

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week sixteen - Headlights - 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.

DAYLIGHT HEADLIGHTS - Part One

(Pic. of cars with headlights on.)
It is bright sunlight but the dark car is almost hidden in the shade.
Turning on your headlights makes you stand out. It could save your life.

Last week I stated that a bicycle is a vehicle. Under the law a bicycle must meet the same requirements and obey the same laws as a car, except in certain instances.

A bicycle, like a car, is required to have a headlight and a tail light after dark and, like a car, you should have your headlight on in the day time.

In B. C. it is not mandatory, as it is in some states, for vehicles to have their headlights on during daylight hours. Because of the increased safety that is generated by daylight use of headlamps more and more states require it and more and more auto manufacturers are making new cars so that the lights come on when you start your car.

Foolishness you say, not at all, especially in the Southwest region of B. C. where we encounter so many grey, foggy, and rainy days.

Depending on the colour of your clothing, or vehicle, you can blend in with the road. If the sun is at your back during sunset or sunrise, whether a vehicle or a cyclist, you become a merepinprick of black. Your headlight(s) can be a bright spot in the center of the black, alerting oncoming traffic to your presence.

Any vehicle, large or small, has blind spots, areas that are not covered by mirrors or the turning of the driver's head. A headlight shining from a blind spot can cause a reflection off something that can alert a driver to your presence.

Blind areas are increased a thousand fold if the windows of a vehicle are misted with fog or rain. The driver may see absolutely nothing but a headlight and that is all it requires for him to know there is something beside him.

One grey, cloudy, day, I needed to change lanes to the right with my tractor trailer. My mirrors and windows showed no sign of anyone beside me but through the lower corner of my windshield I could detect a yellow overtone to the pavement. I slowed down a bit and a small car, that had been in my blind spot, became visible in my window. That driver owes his life to the fact that he had his headlights on in the daytime.

Whether you are driving a bicycle, motorcycle, car, or tractor trailer, always use your headlights, day or night.

END

Next week we will talk more about the use of headlights.

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SHARING THE STREETS
Week seventeen - Headlights - 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.

FLASHING HEADLIGHTS

(Pic. of cars with headlights on.)
Flashing headlights may mean a problem. Check it out.

What does it mean to you when you see a vehicle approaching and he is flashing his headlights?

If he is flashing them, bright and dim, it probably means that you have forgotten to dim your headlights.

If he is flashing them, on and off, it could mean that it is after dark, or not quite daylight, and you don't have your headlights on. It could mean that there is a police radar ahead of you.

Normally it means there is something on the road ahead, an accident, a tree, a deer on the side of the road, something that the oncoming motorist thinks you should slow down for.

If the other vehicle is behind you it could mean that you are hogging the passing lane and he wants you to pull to the right, into the thru lane, so that he can get by.

If you are already in the thru lane it probably means that he wants you to pull over to the curb. Maybe you have a flat tire. Maybe you forgot your purse on the roof.

As a trucker it usually means that I have forgotten something on my trailer, or something is falling off my trailer. The last time was when I was hauling a load of onions on a high boy from California to Montreal. I was climbing the mountain into Nevada and my front load strap had come loose and had come off the side of the trailer.

Whatever the reason is, don't ignore the warning. Don't just pass it off with a shrug and a, "Stupid jerk".

Take the time to figure it out, it could save your life.

END

Next week we will talk about blind spots

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