Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Egregious lapses in road safety!

Every year, I write a back to school post wherein I become wistful or contemplative or hopeful or nostalgic. I think this year, I will instead shake my head in amazement.

I live in a small city, rather than a small town, and so we are more easily able to absorb the influx of students in September than is, say, New Haven (Yale), or Charlottesville (U Virginia), whose populations nearly double when the kids come back. No. It's not that bad, but an extra 30,000 or so people still means ... 30,000 more people on the road during rush hour.

Prepare to shake your heads in amazement at the traffic lunacy, the egregious lapses in road safety, I witnessed en route to school today in the family truckster (Toyota Echo) with Munchkin and Pynchon. Bear in mind that we drove a whole 3.2 kilometres.

1. Not so hip student girl on mountain bike cutting across traffic to mount the sidewalk.
2. Hipster student girl on a cruiser bike, in the bike lane, hooray! But EATING A BAGEL SANDWICH. While zooming down a four lane road.
3. Pedestrian eating a sandwich and carrying an open laptop FROM WHICH HE WAS READING while crossing a four lane road.
4. Women driving a sedan with junk piled so high in the back window we could hardly tell what she was doing, only she was weaving across two lanes, unsure quite of where she wanted to go.
5. Woman driving a RAV-4, zooming up the left turn lane in order to pass us, so that she could make it to the red light before us, and sit there.
6. Rear-end collision involving delivery van and subcompact car.
7. Man OPENING SNAIL MAIL while driving. He had a fistful of envelopes on the steering wheel.
8. Two cops in cars, operating a speed trap on a side road. Officers, it's not the speed, it's the stupidity.

What did YOU see in your travels today?


Denguy said...

Well, on my approximately 250m walk to drop the kids at school, I saw children. Lots and lots of children.

From you list: number 5 happens to me often and I really don't get it.

Jenifer said...

Oh don't get me started!

Our biggest issue during school drop-off and pick-up times are the double parkers. I have literally been trapped inside our townhouse complex and could not get out because there are dozens and dozens of cars parked along both sides of the street and all throughout our complex.

There is an enormous public school near us and despite by-law officers coming around it is like this every single school day. They have told me it is one of the top schools reported in our city for these issues.

It is a bit scary actually and I am thinking of ramping up who I am complaining to since if we God forbid every needed a fire truck or ambulance during these times good luck.

As for your driving infractions reported, come visit us and you will see the same thing! I suppose it is some kind of epidemic all this bad driving.

ruby rojo said...

My big pet peeve is all the cyclists on sidewalks, even though my town has all kinds of bike lanes. Aargh! And many of them don't even slow down to pass parents and small children.

Yesterday, if I'd had a mirror, I would have seen someone squatting in the middle of a quiet residential road, ipod in ears, and camera to eye. Good thing no cars drove by!

Beck said...

I saw fog, tons of dogs wandering around on their own (all friendly), lots of kids, and the fattest person I have seen in my whole life.

My husband is convinced that there is a whole generation of people who feel so tremendously entitled that they are utterly convinced that said entitlement will prevent them from getting squashed by cars. An interesting theory.

Debbie said...

Ah, September and the scent of more automobiles on the road is in the air.

I was trying to get out of our neighborhood the other day and came up behind someone doing 20km/hr (in a 50 zone), taking pictures while driving. This continued for 4 blocks, around the round-about, and onto the freeway exit, including swerving into my lane on the exit ramp.

Heh. Good times.

Omaha Mama said...

As they race by me, I like to say, "See you at the stoplight!" cheerfully, as if they can hear me.
Other than that...lots and lots of poor decisions. I drive to a place where approx. 1000 or so teenagers are DRIVING each day. One poor boy was hit by a car the other day. The poor lady who hit him was then rear-ended by the person in a rush behind her. Yikes.

Bon said...

laughing at myself after reading this, as i was cursing traffic this morning, as we have to pass two school zones/crossings on the 7 block drive to the sitters (small town blocks, not big city blocks) and then got stuck in the university's left turn lane for 3.5 whole minutes. which, for here, is wretched traffic, compounded by bad drivers who can't turn left unless there's a country mile carless in front of them. but perhaps i should chill & breathe. :)

Kyla said...

I hate it when I pass someone and still get stuck at the light with them. I always think they are smugly pleased I didn't make it through.

I saw someone holding a baby on a dashboard recently...on the feeder road of a highway!

Kate said...

On a 4-lane road near my house: A car stops next to me at a stoplight having experimented unsuccessfully with cutting me off. An boy, about eight years of age, gets out of the front passenger seat. He runs around and gets into the car through the back door on the driver's side, and *takes the baby out of its carseat*. The light then changes, and car drives off at top speed, boy and baby unstrapped in back! Yikes!