Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Red is the New Amber

The long standing belief of Auckland drivers is that the red traffic light means stop, green means go, and the amber means go faster. However, I think this has changed.

Regular readers will know I walk a great deal, so I have plenty of opportunities to observe that when the pedestrian signal goes green, there are still a large number of vehicles sailing through intersections. The pedestrian signal does not turn green until the traffic’s light has been red for four (I think) seconds. This means that the drivers have had ample time to stop, but driving through red lights is clearly now the norm.

I am not at all sure if I have described this clearly, but if you are clever, you can work out what I mean. If you don’t understand, it’s not my fault you are a thicky.

Last week, one of the offending red-light drivers, was a police-car (and no, their sirens etc weren’t on). Now – I do not wish to abuse the dear men and women of the police-service who do a valued, and dangerous job, but really.

The worst location for this appears to be the intersection of Queen Street and K’ Rd in the inner-city. I defy anyone to cross there, and not be almost run down by at least three vehicles running a red.

I assume that this behaviour is a typically Auckland thing. Perhaps I am wrong, and the whole country is in on it. In any case, stop it at once. It is most annoying.


Seamonkey Madness said...

Boulcott and Willis in Wgtn are bad like that. I witnessed a blind man and his alsatian seeing-eye dog almost get clipped by a truck which had run a (downhill) red. The buzzer had gone and, as trained, the dog led his master across the street.
Both jumped back a couple of feet (musn't be totally blind) as the truck zoomed towards them. The driver pulled up just around the corner (out of shock or perhaps that was his final destination) but he got an earful from several passers-by.

Red-light cameras should be mandatory at such intersections and offenders be suitably fined/punished.

todd said...

I saw Mark Sainsbury almost get run over outside TVNZ (cnr Victoria and Hobson Sts) by a red light runner the other day. I couldn't tell if the driver was happy or sad that he missed him.
Sainso flapped his arms about alot and muttered.

d-man said...

They should get rid of amber and just have red and green.

Living in the Stable said...

Symonds Street and Newton Road is by far the worst intersection in Auckland. There is a collision there nearly every Friday and Saturday night. Best crash recently is the idiot who took on a Unimog towing a field gun on Anzac Day morning. They got off lightly with broken legs.
The locals know you wait at least 5 seconds before you attempt to cross on the pedestrian phase.

ex-expat said...

Wellington has it too. After 4 years of looking right when crossing the street, this new traffic fad coming from the wrong direction really is troublesome.

Mrs Smith said...

Okay - so it seems to be a national trait. How reassuring yet irritating. I would have paid good money to see Mr Sainsbury flapping his arms about angrily.

Taking on a unimog? (Had to Google that one) Broken legs the least they deserve.

I know what you mean, Ex-expat. After any period overseas, one almost ends up with whip-lash trying to cope with crossing roads on one's return.

Chris Bell said...

d-man said...
They should get rid of amber and just have red and green.

It will surprise some Kiwi 'drivers' to know that in many countries the actual traffic light phases are:

- red
- red and amber
- green
- amber
- red

The red/amber combo is intended to give drivers time to get into gear and take off the handbrake but has apparently been abandoned here because so many drivers would take advantage of it to jump green and thereby crash into all the red runners heading right at them... What you get here instead are drivers who have failed to notice that the lights have changed in their favour, cutting down the period of 'useful green' for any alert drivers and increasing the likelihood that people will feel like running a red light.

Apologies if that Olympiad of flashing colours gives anyone an epileptic fit.

Nicholas Gavey said...

As a pedestrian it is annoying when cars run red lights and almost run you over. Almost as bad as when they fail to indicate or slow down when turning.

But what about pedestrians who don't wait for the little green man and just stroll straight out onto the road? Normally these people don't look in either direction and are listening to an iPod at the same time, or even texting. Is that as bad?