Morons on the road transport

My rights as a pedestrian

When I’m out walking, I actively (but not foolishly, I hope) defend my rights as a pedestrian. If I have an opportunity to walk safely and legally before a car goes, I will take it.

The main rules are not difficult to comprehend, but some motorists just don’t seem to understand them.

[Page references are those in the Vicroads PDF summary of the road rules.]

Red means stop. It doesn’t mean drivers can zoom through at the last minute. Given that Yellow actually means “stop if it is safe to do so” [p27], there’s no reason why drivers should still be travelling through the intersection after I’ve got a (conflicting) green man. Not that there’s much I can do about this but glare.

Drivers are meant to stop behind the stop line, not halfway across it blocking the pedestrian crossing. If blocked by the cars ahead, that’s the driver’s fault for not looking ahead to make sure it was clear. [p27]

The zebra crossing means vehicles have to give way for me to cross. If a motorist was driving so fast they had to brake sharply, that’s their fault [p58]. (I view extended periods of delays to motorists at busy zebra crossings, such as in Flinders Lane, with some glee. If they were stupid enough to bring their car into the middle of a big busy city, they’re going to face some delays in their quest to get to the next red light.)

Flinders Lane pedestrian crossing

Flagged Children’s Crossings are more strict. Vehicles have to stop if someone is waiting to cross, and not drive through until the last person is completely off the crossing. [p57] (I also recommend not trying to run down crossing supervisors at lighted intersections, such as some right-turners at McKinnon and Jasper Roads seem to do.)

Vehicles are not allowed to park on a footpath.[p78] Foot. Path. It’s really not that hard.

If a driver is turning across my path, they have to give way to me [p29] — unless it’s a roundabout.

Many motorists, myself included, give way when coming out of side-streets to crossing pedestrians. Strictly speaking vehicles don’t have to do this, but personally I consider it polite.
(Update: Commenter Andrew notes elsewhere the rules say: “At Stop or Give Way signs […] you must not only give way to vehicles, but also to any pedestrians at or near the sign […]”. [p31] However it appears that this specifically applies at locations not at intersections. I’m not clear on why you’d have such a sign that’s not at an intersection.)

If a vehicle is going into or coming out of a driveway or carpark or whatever, they have to give way to me. [p60]

Drivers have to stop for tram passengers unless there’s a safety zone/platform stop. [p60] The tram is a big thing on wheels that’s 3-5 times as big as a car; there’s no excuse for not seeing it.

I don’t have to cross at the lights if they’re more than 20 metres away (but I’ll certainly do so if it’s safer to do so).

The above rules are, I think, pretty logical.

But there are some others I learnt about while reading up on it, which I suspect not so many people are aware of.

  • Motorists have to give way to peds when turning in a slip lane (including separated from the other lanes by just a painted island) [p30]
  • Motorists have to give way to all peds (and everyone else for that matter) when making a U-turn [p31]
  • Giving way to peds when turning includes instances such as turning into a main road that the pedestrian is crossing. [figure 24, p35]

Footnote: Why have VicRoads published the road rules in a PDF that doesn’t allow you to copy text out of it?

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What the F— do you think you’re doing, Mr White Stationwagon? Where the F— did you get your driver’s licence? Why the F— do you think you can decide as you’re driving through an intersection in the left hand lane, that you are suddenly going to turn right, across three lanes of traffic, cutting me off as I’m about to turn right the other way, leaving my car helplessly stuck in the intersection? It’s not as if that’s a F—ING hook turn there, and even if it was, you didn’t do it F—ING properly, did you?

Ahem. Pardon that burst of invective, but I don’t particularly like having sudden scares like that as I’m peacefully driving home of an evening. I think I’ll eat some chocolate.

The rest of the day before that was comparitively calm. Went to work, did stuff, had dinner, headed home.

At Melbourne Central Station I tried to balance on some weirdo bar things they’ve installed, which are too low to sit on or lean against, and got out the book I’ve been reading, Sue Townsend’s Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman. It’s not quite as compelling as Adrian Mole ever was, and on some train journeys I can’t be bothered getting it out to read it. But I’ll keep at it for a bit longer, if only because (a) my sister gave it to me, and I’d feel guilty if I didn’t give it a proper go, and (b) given its extremely pink cover, to prove I’m comfortable with my sexuality by reading it in public.

When I got off the train I wandered into the supermarket, thinking I might pick up one or two items, and coming out with $25 worth. The teenaged checkout chick was astonishingly chirpy to each customer, jabbering away as she scanned things, asking if I’d been at work, had it been a hard day, how many hours I worked (?!) and finally remarking as she scanned the two chocolate bilbies I’d bought for the kids’ Easter presents, “Oh! They’re so cute!” It’s situations like these that I always wonder what the reaction would be if a jumbo box of condoms was in the mix.

It’s been a fun April Fools Day, scouring the media for spoof reports. On the net the most successful has been the Google “G-Mail” one, having been picked up by the major outlets including CNN, BBC and I suppose they can all claim later they were in on the joke. The original press release pretty much gives it away. ABC Online originally covered it like the others, but now seems suspicious. Funny stuff.

PS. 2/4/2004. Or is it real after all??