Saturday 17 September 2011

Correct junction tactics

This video of Stokes Croft on a weekday evening is interesting. As well as the number of cyclists trying to along a road which clearly doesn't welcome them, most drivers are taking the collect "seize the junction" option here at the junction with Jamaica Street. Indeed, the yellow-hatching only covers half the road: its OK to block vehicles coming out of Jamaica Street, just not those going in.

What is odd is that the car at the end, WR60VVG , doesn't take the junction, even though at list late in the cycle, there's a risk of the lights changing before she gets to go through. Admittedly, she has passed the lights so can't see them changing, but even so, why hold back?

It's only as she goes past the camera that we can see why: she's on the phone.

That's a problem that phone users present: they slow down the vehicles behind. If she'd been paying attention she would have gone through earlier, and another car could have come up behind. While she didn't suffer, another vehicle did.

No, this is what we'd do

At 0:15 you can see some pickup -a proper vehicle- go through the roundabout and stop in front of the Cotham Hill traffic. That lets vehicles behind turn right, and ensures that the pickup driver isn't held up by anyone else. Of course, it does block that Cotham Hill traffic, so the usual "If you don't see them they aren't there" tactic kicks in: don't look to either side.

What does the driver do. The phone would be a context switch and make them less responsive to changes in the road ahead. No, they do a better action: they eat their breakfast. There's nothing like a bacon roll and a bottle of cider for a breakfast on the road. Eating this way reduces the cost of congestion: instead of being stuck in the middle of the roundabout being "wasted" time, it is now useful. We think the drivers coming up the hill, instead of being unhappy about the driver's actions, should exploit this opportunity and have their own breakfasts.

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