Sunday, June 20, 2004

Three days?!?

Hmm... my last post was on the 17th. That means three days without a post.

I remember getting grouchy a few times, then thinking about blogging about the things I was grouchy about, then not.

I've noticed that some of my entries have been getting long. So I'll just focus on one thing that happened this weekend.

I got a call back from a police officer who was investigating the incident I talked about on the 11th.

He needed some clarifications about the incident, and also mentioned that he knows a friend of mine who is both a bicycle police officer and CAN-BIKE instructor. He said that given the gravity of the infraction, and given the detail of my report, he will not just give the gentleman a call, but actually go to the man's house!

I also took that opportunity to ask him some questions I had about traffic law. Some things my Driving instructor told me last year didn't quite jive. Here's what he told me:

  • When in a dedicated turning lane, you must signal. The only exception is if there is no other traffic at the intersection (in any direction). My driving instructor had told me that if there were two left turn lanes, and you were in the rightmost one, you should not signal to turn left because that could be interpreted as wanting to go to the leftmost turning lane. This officer told me that you should always signal, so that other drivers (especially those in other directions) know you will be crossing their paths.

  • If you come to an intersection where the street you're on jogs, you don't need to signal so long as your vehicle's direction stays within 45 degrees of 'straight'. This is because if you're signalling right, other drivers will think you're turning right, but then you signal left immediately after, and really confuse them. The officer said he knows of one instance in downtown Ottawa where the jog is at a one-way street, and actually makes you go a bit in the direction opposite of that one way; however, since you don't have to turn more than 45 degrees onto that street, you're still allowed to cross that intersection.

  • Lastly, and perhaps most important, the officer confirmed my belief that you enter the intersection after you pass the wide white stop line, not after crossing the crosswalk line closest to the middle of the intersection (as my driving instructor had told me). The officer said that some people draw an imaginary line from the edge of the cross street's sidewalk and think that's where the intersection starts. I know from reading the Highway Traffic Act that this is not correct, and the officer said so too.

I'll have to call my instructor. I tried on Friday or Saturday, but his cell phone number is no longer in service, so I'll have to call the school to contact him from there. Don't get me wrong, he was a great instructor, and knew most of his stuff, it's just that I, a traffic buff, had a lot of technical questions that he was not prepared to answer (actually, for many rides, he was the one asking me about situations he was unsure about!)

- RG.

PS: see what I mean about long posts... and this was only one topic!

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