We talk about a “shared system” on our roads but many users struggle to shift their attitudes between modes. For most roads users we are all a pedestrian, often a driver, and sometimes a cyclist. As we move from one to another, quite often an understanding of the other is forgotten and our behaviours as a driver do not fit that of the cyclist we were just moments ago.
A change in mode and we shift tribes entirely forgetting that just moments ago we were a pedestrian. If a different mode of users impacts us, we get angry, that extra 5 seconds suddenly really matters.
Near miss but on my way. Next time the postie will see me.
A pedestrian walks across the road at an intersection I am entering, entirely legal – how dare they!!!! I did have to slam on my brakes as I nearly missed them in my rush – damn A-pillar – but the pedestrian should have waited for me.
Why when we go onto the road system is our time suddenly so much more precious?
That impatience to get from point A to point B – I need to rush to get there. Then heaven forbid I stumble across road works on my journey. First it was the postie, then a pedestrian, now road workers. This trip is going to hell!!! Speed limit is 40, I will push the limit, in fact I will ignore the limit. Everyone else is.
Sadly, that road worker is among the unrecognised vulnerable road user. If I hit them at 20kmph looking at a serious injury and close to 40kmph and above that is fatal. But I have to get to point B. That is my primary purpose for driving on the road.
Then I keep changing lanes into the faster one but at every light that same Holden Colorado pulls in next to me and they have never changed lanes.
There is a gap in front of truck just for me, score, that will finally get me in front of that Holden. Why is that truck driver flashing me – can’t they see me???
There goes a cyclist down the side lane on the highway whilst I am stuck in traffic. They should have to pay rego!!
The road is against me, other drivers have no idea, I can feel the pressure building inside of me as I become more emotional, increasing my crash risk 10-fold. But a few honks and yells at other road users releases some of the rage.
Finally, I have arrived and parked and can take the kids inside and drop them off. I’m going to walk across the road to grab a coffee to kill some time – why are the cars honking at me I have right of way…
Perhaps a better approach is to enjoy the drive. Develop a few strategies to make the drive easier as we all use the road as part of our daily activities and should therefore share the responsibility for road safety.
When I drive, I have my podcasts or a playlist playing, vehicle working with active AEB and enjoy the moment. I prefer to be curious rather than angry or impatient of others behaviours. I want to reach my destination safely – does a few minutes really matter!!!
What do others do?
Written by Jerome Carslake, Manager of NRSPP