Do You Have the “Right of Way?”November 15, 2007
I’ve been thinking about traffic recently as a result of conversations here and here. Bicyclists always seem to be at the low end of the traffic totem pole. They technically have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles, but like a Geo in a sea of tractor-trailers they lack the muscle to assert their presence. Add giant slow-moving buses, hurried pedestrians, and the occasional skater (or thousand skaters as above) and it’s a wonder more accidents don’t happen during rush hour.
Who takes precedence? I’ve seen cars nudge in front of buses, bikes slide up columns of waiting cars, pedestrians dart out from nowhere, and even buses cutting off crosswalks. Legally, pedestrians, as the slowest and least protected, get the right-of-way. Otherwise, it seems that legally cars, bikes, and buses are all on the same page, with special exemptions for bus stop areas and bike lanes.
It comes down to courtesy and respect, neither of which is prevalent on today’s roadways. When driving I believe I should be last in line for anything. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses get to go in front of me. As my car is the quickest and most comfortable transportation open to me, anything I can do to make someone who utilizes a less convenient option’s trip easier is a good thing. I can wait that extra 5 seconds at a crosswalk, because there’s a great song on the radio.
Who do you think has the “right of way?”