Keep clear: Pedestrians walking!

I was pleased to see a couple of articles on page 5 of the May 2014 City of Glen Eira council newsletter, about the rights of pedestrians on footpaths.

Car blocking footpath #RoadMorons

The first notes the rules around keeping footpaths clear:Glen Eira News, May 2014: Pedestrians

Clearing the way for walking

During community consultation for Glen Eira City Council’s Walking Strategy, various concerns were raised regarding obstructions for walking. These obstructions range from overhanging branches from private properties, illegally parked vehicles and construction sites.

A key role of Council’s Parking and Prosecutions Department is to have a presence at schools within Glen Eira to ensure safety of children. This includes ensuring vehicles do not park over school crossings or footpaths.

It notes you can ring the council to get cases investigated.

The other concerns motorists using private driveways needing to give way to pedestrians:

Pedestrians and private driveways

Each year, a significant number of pedestrians including the elderly and children, are run down and seriously injured by vehicles exiting private driveways

Under the Victorian road rules, a driver exiting a private driveway must give way to pedestrians and all other traffic — even if such traffic is hidden by high front fences, hedges or buildings.

Glen Eira City Council Manager Transport Planning Terry Alexandrou said that blowing the horn before exiting the driveway is not giving way.


The correct way to exit a private driveway is:

1. drive slowly to the exit and stop with the nose or tail of the car just short of the footpath; and

2. at less than walking speed, inch out slowly across the footpath.

It’s worth noting that the Road Safety Rules 2009 makes it clear that motorists have to give way to pedestrians when entering or exiting any off-road area, and this “can include a driveway, service station or shopping centre” — it’s not just private residential driveways.

As I’ve noted before, this is contrary to common signage which urges pedestrians to “Beware of cars” — which they should of course, but in the absence of any warnings for motorists, could easily be misconstrued as implying vehicles don’t have to give way.

See also:

Give way to pedestrians when exiting a driveway or car park

Rego stickers are *so* last year

Lots of cars still seem to have rego stickers on them, even though they are being phased-out — you haven’t needed to have one on your car since the end of last year.

Rego stickers

…from 1 January 2014, Victoria will abolish registration labels for light vehicles, including passenger cars.


How will people know when they need to pay registration?

Although registration stickers will be no longer issued, there will be no change to the traditional reminders which car owners are used to receiving.

VicRoads will continue to send vehicle registration renewals notices around six weeks before registration is due, and a reminder letter will be sent if registration is not paid by the due date.

Vicroads: Discontinuation of registration labels

They also note that most other states have either already abolished registration stickers, or are about to.

Given it’s May and many more than half of cars still seem to have them, I assume many have expired but not been removed.

I peeled sticker off a few weeks ago, well after it expired. It took quite some time to remove completely, but on the bright side, I guess I’ll never have to do that again.

How many “bus lane” signs can you ignore? Better enforcement needed?

If you frequent the area, you might have noticed that the Ballarat Road has a lot more buses than usual. Not for the first time, the Regional Rail Link project has closed part of the Sunbury line, with buses ferrying passengers between Albion and Flemington Racecourse, resulting in convoys of buses doing train impersonations:

Sunbury line bustitution

Sensibly, the Regional Rail Link Authority organised to have bus lanes on the 6-lane section of Ballarat Road, to help the many people using the buses get through the traffic.

And they didn’t skimp on the signage, either — there are “BL” paint markings on the road, variable message signs, and conventional bus lane signs, all placed on a regular basis along the road.

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

Sunbury line bustitution: bus lanes

What amazed me while heading down there on Friday was that some motorists managed to ignore this prolific signage and drive for long distances in the bus lane.

Obviously some people are creatures of habit, but if you can ignore three separate types of signs (one flashing at you), repeated every couple of hundred metres, along a distance of several kilometres, then I’d suggest you’re either wilfully ignoring them, or just not paying attention.

Either way, it appears better enforcement is needed. Hopefully they are cracking down at least when it matters, during peak hours.

ID card options if you don’t want/have a driver’s licence

So, following-up yesterday’s post.

A little research on IDs for young adults (in particular to prove they are over 18) who don’t drive led me to two possibilities — assuming one doesn’t want to carry around a passport:

Liquor licencing: recognised forms of identificationKeypass — $55, and supposedly recognised nationwide.

Proof Of Age card — $10, and also apparently recognised throughout Australia.

It seems other states have similar cards to the Proof Of Age card: NSW has the NSW Photo Card. Queensland has the Adult Proof of Age Card, and so on.

One commenter yesterday mentioned the International Student Identity Card — but according to the posters summarising the law, this isn’t necessarily recognised.

Apart from a liquor-licensing point of view, some retailers also want to see ID for certain card transactions, apparently due to their own paranoia.

While Isaac is reluctant to learn to drive, I think it’s still an important skill to have even if you don’t want to use it… and as others noted, there are insurance premium implications later down the track.

But for now I think we’ll go for the $10 Proof Of Age option.

Stay on the train, or join the traffic? Some young adults are rejecting cars.

Isaac just turned 18. (Yeah, I know.)

Anyway, I was talking to him about getting a photo ID that shows his age, so (if he should choose to) he can exercise his rights as an adult.

Many his age would get a Learner’s permit as part of learning to drive. But he has zero interest in doing that — in fact he has firmly said he doesn’t want it. And I’m not about to argue against that. Not me, who likes to avoid driving, and who didn’t get a driver’s licence until the age of 27.

Stay on the train, or join the traffic?

I wonder if not being interested in driving is becoming a Thing?

Looks like it might be in some circles.

Young people are shying away from getting their driver’s licence because they are keeping in touch with their friends online rather than in person, a new (US) study has found.
– Fairfax Drive: Young people choose computers over cars

What, Facebook is killing cars? Surely not — at least, not on its own — though it does seem that my kids go and visit their friends less than I used to when I was a teenager.

The article continues:

The figures tally with some recent Australian findings, which show that public transport use is booming as car use declines.

Twenty years ago, almost four out of five people between the ages of 20 and 24 had their full licence. By 2009, that figure had fallen to 51 per cent.

Social analyst David Chalke says that in Australia the increasing number of young people attending university for long periods of time in major metropolitan areas means that cars are more of a hassle than a convenience.

“With kids staying at university for longer, they’re more likely to want an iPad than a car,” Chalke says.

He says mobile devices mean people can also use their travelling time more effectively on public transport.

Good point, that last one. And Mr Chalke also notes that university life doesn’t mix well with cars — at many campuses, parking is expensive or scarce or both.

This trend ties in with some parts of the USA:

The latest generation of young adults has more alternatives to the car, Sheryl Connelly (Futurologist at Ford) suggests. Cities such as Portland, Oregon, have successfully encouraged far greater bike use, while public transport is far better in some places than 30 years ago.

“The car doesn’t hold the same imagery that it did in the Sixties or Seventies,” she says.

Financial Times

…and it seems to be borne out in other western countries as well:

The findings indicate that since the turn of the millennium, access to cars, measured in terms of drivers’ licences and household car ownership, has decreased in most study countries—especially for men. Moreover, average daily car travel distance has decreased in most study countries, again especially for men. In France, Japan, and most significantly in the USA, the decrease in car travel has led to a reduction in total everyday travel by young travellers. In Great Britain, the decline in car travel was partly, and in Germany fully, compensated by an increased use of alternative modes of transport.

Obviously there are a lot of factors, and it’s only a specific demographic, but I think this makes some sense.

If you live in a walkable neighbourhood, if your friends and the places you go are either local or easily accessible by bike or public transport, then why would you be interested in cars, especially given the costs of running them?

Opting out of using a parent’s car as well? That’s a step further that I find that really interesting.

In many cities, including Melbourne, of course it’s going to be different in different areas. We in Bentleigh do have a walkable suburb, with no roads more than 4 lanes in total (certainly no freeways), mostly straight and easily navigable streets, few cul-de-sacs and while the buses are nothing special, the trains run every 10 minutes every day of the week.

But some suburbs are really pedestrian-hostile, with very wide fast roads to cross, little within walking distance, and appalling public transport. I really doubt the reluctance to join motordom is a Thing in most outer suburbs.