Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fundamental rule of driving

Speaking to my neighbour about various things and it surprised me that she didn't grasp that a lot of the rules of the road applied to pedestrians too. Now the exact phrasing as I learnt it was "You don't take an action that would cause another road user to have to take action", but in theory that means you should never brake :-). So I'll rephrase it to "The road user has right of way". How does that work?

Well consider I'm driving along and you're coming towards me on the road, but there's an obstacle in your path. The only way for you to continue is is to use the part of the road I'm using. As I'm using it I have right of way. Sure the road may be wide enough for us to both get through if I scoot over a touch, but I'm under no obligation to do so.

For pedestrians if I'm approaching a junction and I'm indicating to turn into and you're waiting to cross it - I have right of way.

But it works the other way too. If you're already overtaking the obstacle when I appear you're the road user and you have right of way. If as a pedestrian you've already started to cross before I appear or indicate that I wish to use the road you have right of way.

How does this apply to those road users who stick their noses out into the middle of queues; that's the second rule - you don't start an action unless you can finish it. So if you're trying to cross the road or switch lanes you don't unless you can complete it in one motion. So no standing in the middle of the road waiting for the other lane to clear.

It sounds daft, but those two rules pretty much cover the basics of road use. Lights and road markings simply act as mediators as to who is and isn't the 'road user'.

Annoyingly though in law most of the offences apply to use of a vehicle, pedestrian road users face little censure. They should.


Orphi said...

I often cross the road and wait in the middle when I'm trying to get to class.

In fairness, there's an island in the middle. (Although no road markings.)

I just love the way that car drivers have to have eyes in the back of their heads, but pedestrians can stroll around totally oblivious to their surroundings, and when they get hurt, it will be the car driver who goes to prison. Not them.

FlipC said...

Ah but that's one motion and you're no longer on the road.

As we've discussed before there certainly seems a tendency to blame the driver rather than the pedestrian at least initially