Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Left Turn SignalThere was an interesting post on Twitter this week showing drivers interacting with pedestrians at the intersection of Cambie Street and West Broadway in Vancouver. The photo showed 3 cars facing a green light trying to turn onto Cambie from Broadway, 2 eastbound turning left and one westbound turning right into their respective lanes on Broadway. There was a steady stream of pedestrians crossing Cambie against a red don't walk signal.

Judging from the circumstances, some of the pedestrians had started to cross against the signal.

Two of the cars had stopped at the edge of the marked crosswalk but one driver was doing their best to force their way through the pedestrians and was almost completely within the crosswalk.

Vehicle vs Pedestrian at Crosswalk

There is so much wrong with the situation that it is difficult to know where to start!

Perhaps the most important point to begin with is the driver's duty to not collide with pedestrians, regardless of the fact that the pedestrians may not be following the rules themselves. Forcing your vehicle through the flow of pedestrians in the crosswalk is a clear violation of this duty.

Next, a green light does not automatically grant a driver permission to enter the intersection. There are situations when the driver must yield to other traffic before starting to move. While the section does say "...must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk at the time the green light is exhibited," we still have to consider the duty mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Finally, drivers are not supposed to block the intersection. You should not start into the intersection unless you have a reasonable belief that you can complete your intended movement without impeding other traffic.

These pedestrians are regulated by the walk / don't walk signals at the intersection. You must not step off of the curb unless the white pedestrian signal is lit. Both the solid and the flashing red hand signals mean that you have to wait for the next cycle. Also, contrary to what some believe, the countdown timer (if the signals are so equipped) does not mean that you have the number of seconds shown to get across.

I'll close with the observation that courtesy doesn't seem to be a concept included in the use of our streets and highways these days. Me First! is often the attitude shown to others. A little consideration could go a long way to reducing both our crash and insurance rates. We would also arrive at our destination in a better frame of mind.


So much wrong, no argument there ...

The cops are the problem. the root cause of this behaviour, in my opinion.

Why? Because they know as well as anybody that pedestrian 'Walk / Don't Walk' signals were created to STOP pedestrian movement so that vehicles would have a chance to get around the corner once the pedestrians had been given their reasonable opportunity to get where they are going.

We're all using the same asphalt, we all need our chance to occupy that space at some time, and nobody has any right to disregard the law and impose themselves on the others.

The thing is, it's been decades now since most any police forces or by-laws officers bothered making any effort to hold pedestrians accountable for their behaviour.

The result? Our current chaos. The City of Vancouver in particular.

And it will only get worse, up until the time when the police decide to make some effort (it wouldn't take much to get people's attention) to fix things.

The circumstances you

The circumstances you described are fairly common in Metro Vancouver.  Also common are "late runner" motorists and pedestrians who enter an intersection when the signal is amber and turning to red.  Adding to the problem is the fact that many motorists are distracted in some manner, and many pedestrians wear dark clothing and have their head down as they focus on their smart phone.

Motorists and pedestrians know, or ought to know the rules which are, for the most part, common sense.  But they see others getting away with a bad behavior and, as they begin to push the envelope by taking chances, their behavior is rewarded (by saving time) and they feel confident in taking chances.  Eventually an accident occurs and they say "Why me? Why now?"

We cannot put all the blame on the police who have limited resources and cannot be everywhere all the time.  Motorists and pedestrians need to take responsiblity for themselves, obey the traffic rules and use common sense.  Get rid  the destractions and focus on the task at hand, which is driving or walking especially at intersections.



Advance Turn Phase may help

An advance turning phase on the traffic lights may help to reduce the problem, if the problem is serious enough to warrant the feature.  

I read a headline a while

I read a headline a while back about a city/state? that was going to fine pedestrians caught texting in intersections. Haven't heard anything about that lately. The only problem with some vehicles that run red lights in the winter is that plates tend to be blocked with snow, therefore cameras are useless.

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