21 October 2009

Bloody Pedestrians Obstructing the Flow of Traffic

A video from the always interesting Streetfilms about motorist behaviour in New York. I'm extremely pleased to see that somebody has actually turned around and looked at the bull.

This really highlights the folly of behavioural campaigns aimed at getting cyclists - and only cyclists - to 'behave' when in fact the issue is bigger than all that.

Medicate the damn bull. With that said, New York really is the greatest Shared Space experiment in the western world. Pedestrians rarely look at the walk signal, they often merely look left or right and walk when the coast is clear. Imagine the money you could say on electricity if all those unused walk signals were removed.

Although we could channel the voltage into initiatives that slow the automotive traffic instead.

Via Tom Vanderbilt's How We Drive blog and Streetfilms.org.


anna said...

Not so so uncommon scene here either (people blocking crosswalks and bike crossings with cars). I tend to look angry directly into people's face. Some of them actually do get afraid then :).

KDT said...

The way I play the game is NOT to look at the drivers. Looking the drivers in the eye gives them power. You have to act as though you don't see them. That keeps them off-balance.

In the video you see that some intersections are marked with cross-hatching that covers the entire space of the intersection in between all of the four crosswalks. These have signs that tell drivers "Don't Block the Box!" If their cars are caught in the cross-hatch when the light changes, they risk a ticket with an extra fine.

So one of the reasons for the behavior is long-standing city policy that favors clearing the intersection over allowing pedestrians to cross on the walk signal. That's not an excuse, mind you -- just a reason. The drivers can always slow down and wait at the intersection, but the nature of traffic is to move forward.

Anonymous said...

Being America the pedestrians should use their legally purchased hand guns and shoot a few holes into the side of cars getting in the way. ;-))

Mighk said...

Here's a thought. A campaign to get groups pedestrians to stop in front of such drivers and make them wait through another signal cycle. That'll learn 'em.

Nate Briggs said...

Hey Mikael:

I'll repeat here the same comment I made for the Streetsblog post: motorists do this because law enforcement rarely makes a move to correct these behaviors.

Since I read a lot of detective novels I am acquainted with discussions about how to commit the "perfect crime".

For many communities in the US, it's simple.

Just hit someone with your car. Just really slam into them at full speed ... and then concoct some sort of alibi later.

You'll get a citation.

But, if you are not impaired at the time of the "accident" you typically receive probation. And might possibly not be charged at all.

The advantage of using a Big Cultural Icon to commit a crime.

... Nate (SLC)

LGV said...

we have to be as rude as them and hit the cars, that's the only thing they undersand if we "touch" their fantastic motored kingdom !

mjmjm said...

Motorists get surprisingly offended if you touch their car as you pass by it. It's like poking them personally. But they can't do anything about it...it's my weird little form of revenge.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

mjmjm - hmmm, good point. Now where can I find me a group of sticky-jam-fingered toddlers, just tall enough to reach out for the pretty shiny animals on the bonnets...? ;-p

In Melbourne, there probably aren't quite the same number of pedestrians, but there's a similar set-up in that the pedestrian crossing parallel to the road goes green at the same time. Motorists do not force their way through (a few try, but it's not seen as acceptable behaviour here, usually a good glare stops them). Pedestrians cross, whilst motorists pull round from the straight-through road, clearly aligning their cars to turn fully once the peds are gone. Then they turn, and that's that.

Swede said...

In some of these situations I would simply have walked over the cars. I've done it a couple of times where I live and the drivers were simply to stunned to react!