I have to confess that I would be one person getting a ‘junk mail’ envelope through the door with a fine for driving in a bus lane if I was still living in Sheffield.
Come to think of it, even if I was visiting. I know Ecclesall Road well – what’s wrong with nipping into the lane a little early if you can see there isn’t a bus coming and the gap to the roundabout means you won’t be encroaching on the lane as you’re queuing?
It seems councils the world over have ways to generate money from motorists. Bus lanes are pretty well adhered to in Wellington but we could do with a few red light cameras: sometimes a vehicle is so late through lights the green is already showing for the other direction of travel – I nearly lost a leg once when I started to cross on the green man and a car raced past. More fool me for not looking.
Driving in general is pretty shoddy here. There’s no such thing as ‘mirror – signal – manoeuvre’, it’s more ‘manoeuvre, what’s this stick on my steering wheel for? – I’ll just check my look in this handy mirror’. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been following a car for it to suddenly stop and I have no idea if it has pulled over, is waiting to turn or has crashed.
We joke that if a car indicates it must be a tourist but the reality is that most drivers throughout New Zealand are shockingly bad. Aside from anything else, they seem incapable of staying in their own lane. I know adventure sport is big but I don’t expect to partake in it while I’m driving Wellington’s steep, twisty, frequent blind bend roads.
The general mantra is that ‘speed kills’, even though the fastest you can legally drive is 100kph. Those with any decent driving experience (usually European immigrants) know that speed isn’t the issue, it’s the person behind the wheel and their inability to drive to the conditions coupled with a lack of awareness of any other driver on the road.
I was (unfortunately) in an ambulance once that couldn’t get into the bay at the hospital because a car was illegally stopped there. The driver’s response to the paramedics asking him to move is unprintable in a family newspaper.
Give me drivers in bus lanes any day.