What’s the Use?

I’ve been talking to a neighbour recently. He has young children and he’s concerned about the speed of cars along our street. You can see in the image above where we are – my house is the horizontal ellipse, his house is a few doors south, next to the vertical ellipse.

This street is a 50kmh street, as they all are around here. There’s a council 50kmh warning sign at the top of the street and this speed limit has been in force for about 5 years. Everyone should know that the limit in WA is 50kmh in built up areas unless otherwise signposted.

Yet according to traffic measurements sent to us by the council last week, our street carries around 700 vehicles a day and the average speed down our street is 69kmh! The average speed is 69 kmh in a 50 kmh street!

This makes me very angry. This wasn’t news to me; I’ve many times stood on my verge lawn gaping at some vehicle approaching at high speed in this quiet street and feeling furious about it. What’s worse is that because I stick to the limit, I get cars zooming up behind me and tailgating me. I’ve even had cars pull out and pass me on at least four occasions in the past 5 years!! I was obeying the law, but I was going too slow for them.

It’s clear to me that many, many people simply will not obey the law.

In the same vein, at the top of the image above, there’s a yellow circle showing the STOP sign where the slip road off Marmion Avenue leads to my street. The STOP sign may as well not be there! People will not stop! I reckon eight out of ten cars just drive straight through it. Most slow down and look, but I’ve learnt to be very careful when driving north (up the image) past it because so many people take the risk and drive straight through.

Too often I’ve heard the comment that “Oh, 50km/h is just a joke; it’s too slow; it’s not necessary”, as if that justifies disobeying a law because you don’t agree with it. Yeah, right.

Anyway, the council’s solution, already decided, without any consultation with us, is to put an oval ‘chicane’ slowing point in the road outside my neighbour’s house, cutting into his verge to do it. He’s not happy about that because these things are just a challenge to many drivers to see how fast they can swerve through it, and as our street is a bus route, the bus drivers aren’t going to be pleased either (mind you, I reckon the buses are some of the worst speeders). He considers it will make his kids less safe, and I agree.

I believe the drivers have already done their speeding by that point in the street – they pick up speed coming down the hill from the stop sign junction.

What’s triggered this is that I had one of the closest shaves I’ve ever had last Tuesday. I was a front seat passenger in a car when we were trying to turn right at traffic lights. The driver was waiting for the traffic to clear and the lights had changed to red, when another driver came through the red light at full speed just as my friend was about to make the turn. Luckily he saw him coming, but all four of us in the car were shocked and amazed. If our driver hadn’t been alert, I would have copped the full force if the other car had hit us.

I was somewhat shaken, but it’s just another example of the criminal disregard for the law in this town. Red light? Ah, she’ll be right, drive on through. STOP sign? She’ll be right, ya don’t need to stop, stopping’s for wimps. Fifty km/h speed limit? Nah, don’t agree with that law, just drive at the usual 60km/h + 10km/h on top. It’s their right, isn’t it?

As far as I’m concerned, people who refuse to obey the law should lose the protection of the law.

But I’m wasting my breath. Nothing will change, people don’t care.

I speak as someone with a clean driving record, by the way. In 45 years of driving I’ve never had a traffic offence or been found to be speeding and I’ve only ever had one minor reversing accident with a stationary car, so I feel qualified to wave my fist like this. Grrrrr!