Saturday, March 07, 2015

Pride before motorists' fall

Pride is a dangerous emotion. Pride before fall and all that. I have fallen in the past in many areas but I like to explain it away as being caught and not a loss of pride. Make of that what you will.

I obtained my driving license in 1975 and between then and 1977 I received three parking fines. One a friend paid, because it was her fault and the other two, I took a chance and lost. Mea culpa. Honestly, I was only a couple of minutes, M'Lord. Well one was really well deserved when I parked for hours illegally in the city while we saw a movie. I was surprised police bothered booking people for parking offences, but apparently they can and do. I consoled myself with the fact that his handwriting on the ticket indicated he was ill educated. Umm, if you have seen my handwriting you may very well suggest that I am calling the black pot, vermilion.

With the same person in my car who generated my first parking fine, I was pulled over by police in Noble Park at 2am. I am not sure why I was in Noble Park at 2am. I am not sure why anyone would be in Noble Park at all, for any reason. They accused me of speeding. I replied no, I was overtaking a slow car but I did not travel faster than 35mph. They asked me where I was going. I said I am taking my friend home to Elwood and then returning to my home with my grandmother in South Oakleigh. While my friend in the car, a woman my senior by about nearly twenty years, smiled nicely at the officers. She could be very feisty, but she played the game well and smiled ever so sweetly at them. The cops told me to be on my way and to be careful. Some thirty years later, I am still careful, to not get caught.

Lest you think I am a paragon of virtue, at the age of 18 on a quiet and straight country road, I tested out how fast my Chrysler Valiant could go. I got to 96 mph (155 km/h) and then valve bounce set in. Foolish yes, but as a youthful activity in the country, not unusual.

After those parking fines, I decided I would not receive another one and I haven't, not have I been pulled over, apart for a random breath test, or received any traffic infringement notice.

R received notification from his volunteer place of a traffic infringement. He filled in the appropriate paperwork and for quite some time, has not heard back about it. He went through a red light .08 seconds after the light turned red. I was just following another car, was his plaintive wail. I've heard it before. I was just keeping up with the traffic etc etc.

While Victoria doesn't have radio shock jocks to level of New South Wales, radio 3AW's Neil Mitchell comes close. He was interviewing the police commissioner and started to bang on about government revenue raising from speed and red light cameras. He had been nabbed in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda by a speed camera at Lakeside Drive. There was no warning, he complained. The police commissioner pulled out a map and showed him some twenty such 40 limit signs in Fitzroy Street, including flashing LED signs.

R recounted to me, and after my response said I was a government revenue raising stooge, about a volunteer mate who was caught at the same location and his wife caught a week later. The volunteer mate said it just suddenly changed from 60 km/h to 40. I am very familiar with Fitzroy Street. A while ago I posted photos here of the camera flashing constantly at the very location. The forty limit was not suddenly changed. It was slowly introduced and with a very long grace period. R prefers to believe his volunteer mate than me, when I argue that it was not suddenly changed.

I get cross at all these whinges. If I can pretty well stick to the speed limit and not go through red lights, then it just ain't too hard. I am not a paragon of road virtue and it is just as well I don't own a gun or I would be taking out all the hopeless drivers on our roads.

The crux is what people should be arguing about is the appropriateness of the speed limit and in my opinion the speed limit at that location is wrong. While some of Fitzroy Street should be 40, the part where the speed camera is at Lakeside Drive has very little in the way of traffic conflict or pedestrians. The speed people travel at is a fairly good guide to set a speed limit and when so many breach a speed limit, then perhaps the limit really needs to be reviewed. For mine, 50 would be appropriate here.

25 comments:

  1. Having driving license it is almost impossible not get any fines. I havr known it personally.

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    1. Gosia, I bet it was for speeding.

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  2. My non driving self spends quite a lot of time observing drivers. It is amazing how many don't indicate, and continue to talk on the phone. And yes, there is more than a little speeding too.
    Our school zones are very, very lucrative for the government. The restrictions continue all day on week days which I think is a mistake, but it is clearly signposted.

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    1. EC, kids can to a local milkbar at lunch time perhaps. I would wear all day school speed limits if they were appropriate. Some of ours really are not. 70 down to 40 on a major 10 laned road where there is an overhead footbridge and a traffic light crossing is ridiculous.

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  3. As a teenage driver, the car ahead of me and I were both pulled over by police and admonished for stopping just ahead of the Stop line instead of behind it before making a partially blind right hand turn.

    I was booked but the driver ahead of me was let off with a caution when the policeman speaking to him found his charge book was full and the policeman speaking to me couldn't be bothered to interrupt speaking to me to get him a fresh book.

    An early lesson in the unfairness of life.

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    1. Victor, interesting. I don't think police enforce laws now with such pedantry. Never mind. Think of taking one for a mate, even if he/she wasn't.

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  4. Usually if you obey the road laws you won't get booked..

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    1. WA, generally that is quite true. Difficult for some people to comprehend though.

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  5. You're right, it's not rocket science and being observant is a good thing.

    I finally convinced the Great Scot of that when, having just driven past a smashed up car, my darling opined: "somebody should be helping them". "Oh", I said, "You mean like the people in those two huge red trucks with flashing lights?"

    Case closed.

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    1. Jacqueline, welcome. So you were driving and you saw the emergency vehicles and Great Scot did no as a passenger. Well done you.

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  6. I realise the point of this post is not about shock jocks. But the sentence about Victoria not having radio shock jocks to level of New South Wales is correct. They are rude, vulgar, right wing, sexist men... let them stay in another state.

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    1. Hels, none worse than Alan Jones but occasionally I agree with him. I think he is anti fracking.

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  7. I agree with your last paragraph. If too many people are getting pinged in an area where there are very few or no pedestrians, then the existing speed limit needs to be reassessed and changed.
    All the whinging? Well. Like you said, a simple solution. Don't speed, don't run red lights, don't park where you shouldn't, take notice of parking time limits.

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    1. Yes River, even when the speed limit is inappropriate, stick to it.

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  8. We have two red light camera intersections in this small town where I live. Twice I've had the lights flash when I went through although I had the green, but was never notified afterward by mail of infraction. Big huge relief. they review the flashes, I was told, to see if they reflect an infraction, because the light will flash and photo taken for small reasons unrelated to running a light.

    I've had no tickets or wrecks in my life, but I'm no saint. One time, when house sitting for a judge, allowed to use his Corvette since my car was failinig, I took it out on Seven Mile lane and opened it up, until I hit 120 mph. Now that was fun. He didn't pay me and I knew he was going to cheat me that way, so I didn't feel bad about hightailing it around in such a fancy sports car. I felt like a million bucks in that thing.

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    1. What a hoot Strayer, 120mph! That must have been cool. How can you work for someone and they not pay you, unless they have gone broke.

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  9. I'm frankly shocked reading about your criminal past Andrew. Just wait until you let loose with that new Mazda. Look out Victoria.

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    1. Craig, I had confidence and the quick reactions of youth. I was a more skilful driver then than I am now. My criminal past, well.....there were all those indec........no, I'll shut up now

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  10. 40 does seem so slow apart from school times Andrew, I get fed up at 50 on suburban streets but I refuse to ever pay a speeding fine again :) BUT the times I have been caught (4) the only person I get mad with is myself.. do the crime, pay the fine and all that :)

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    1. Pretty well how I see it Grace. How often do you not get caught?

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  11. I agree with your every point. Neil Mitchell is a dick and 40 is too slow for Lakeside Drive. If the limit is set too low for the road it can be hard to stick to. 40 is absolutely correct for crowded streets and small suburban streets, and it is not difficult to stick to.

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    1. Jackie, there are streets where people travel much below the speed limit, such as High Street, Armadale, where drivers travel very slowly as they look at dress shops from their car.

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  12. Noble Park ain't that bad, it's an up and coming suburb! It has a delicious Vietnamese restaurant!

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