driving Morons on the road

On the roads

The horrific car accident on Sunday morning that left 5 teenagers dead reminds me of some very stupid driving I saw from people on the trip down to Inverloch and back.

On the way down I saw a motorcyclist come up behind me on a stretch of single lane road. I was doing about the speed limit. He sat behind me for a few minutes. I saw a sign noting we were coming up to an overtaking lane, and thought he’d wait to overtake, but no, while we were on a curved stretch of road with double-white lines (indicating it was unsafe to overtake, don’t cross the lines), he decided to zoom past me. Only then did I see his pillion passenger on the back.


Driving back to Melbourne, I saw a couple of instances of people (one a zoomy sportscar, one a big truck) overtaking by using lanes marked for vehicles moving in the opposite direction to turn right.

And that was just two days after a nearby fatal crash close to Phillip Island. (In that accident, the man killed was not wearing a seatbelt.)

What can be done to stop this kind of behaviour?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

17 replies on “On the roads”

Whatever it is… Am not sure that the ‘Don’t end up in here/ Drive safely’ flashing mobile sign outside Brighton Cemetery on North Road last night is the most tasteful or sensitive method of making people think …

Stopping them isn’t working. Perhaps we need to just get rid of them quicker. Have a nominated weekend where you can legally go any speed limit (and why not drink and drive too). The safe drivers can stay home and away from roads on that day. Hopefully all the idiots will kill themselves off.

I’m still learning to drive (I left it late – I’m 25 now, heh) and every time I go out on the road, I see something that is illegal, dangerous and careless. Most of the time it happens because someone is impatient. If they were just able to wait an extra 30 seconds to do the right thing, they wouldn’t be putting their lives in danger.

It’s not just idiot car drivers we need to worry about.

Date: 19 Jan 2009, late morning. Location: Elizabeth St between Pelham and Queensberry. Driver of a city-bound number 19 tram reading what looked like a hardware sales catalogue, propped up in front of them on the dashboard, while the tram was moving.

Admittedly, the tram wasn’t moving very fast, and the tram line ahead was clear. But still.

The sign next to the driver’s compartment says something like “Your safety is our priority. Please do not talk to the driver while the tram is moving.” One is sorely tempted to whip out a texta, cross out that first sentence, and add “because you’ll interrupt their reading” to the second one.

19 Jan 2010, I meant. I’m still getting used to the fact that the calendar has clicked over into a new year.

I think there is little that you can do to change these sorts of behaviours. The government sponsored scare campaigns are only effective on those people who already don’t speed/drink/etc.

A few recent articles on drink driving have proportions of a third to a half of offenders who are caught are repeat offenders. It’s not that they think they won’t be caught, they just don’t think about it.

The driver at Inverloch shouldn’t have had people in the car because of a prior conviction for high speed and they were seen doing 150kmh with one of them hanging out a window. There is no campaign or strategy that will stop that behaviour.

The question is how we mitgate their behaviour to stop them affecting others.

Classic the other day was a woman merging on to the Westgate freeway with a phone tucked between her ear and shoulder while at the same time holding a cigarette in one hand and a lighter, trying to get the cigarette lit, in the other. How can a person be so stupid?

Great question Daniel, one which I’m afraid is really hard to answer! Suspending hoon licenses is a start, but there’s nothing stopping these morons from driving illegally- how many of these accidents show this to be the case?

I’m afraid there’s not much that can be done at this stage- it is up to the individual to value life- their own and that of others- such that it puts the fear of God into them! One of my old high school friends was a big hoon, and entering a car with him was literally risking your life! He seemed to be hard-wired to do burnouts and speed! No amount of chastising and complaining would ever change him? And it is unfair to generalise that all big car/ sports car owners are hoons- I’m a proud Ford man, I drive a BA Facon XR6, and yet I have no desire to speed or any of that other nonsense! It seems to be a mindset that has to be defeated!

Many people drive like this because they think that they are very good drivers and that accidents only happen to “other people” who lack their skill. Many of these people have usually only had their license a short time. They enjoy showing off their “great skills” and the speed and power that their car has to their friends. Being able to drive represents a great deal of newfound freedom and power to a teenager. This is especially so with a high performance car. Take away their car and not much is left to boost their ego. I went to school with one such person who thought he was a better driver than me even though he didn’t even have his license yet and was still practiceing. There is no substitute for the experience one can only gain by driving for many years. Next month I will have had my license for 26 years and I am still sometims faced wih new driving situations. My newest skills learned have been adjusting to driving on the left after 24+ years of driving on the right and dealing with the occaisonal roundabout. An Australian driving in the US would have to quickly learn how to deal with the very common and sometimes crazy 4 way stop sign. Roundabouts are very seldom seen in the US and many if not most American drivers have never seen or driven through one.

There is not much that can be done to entirely eliminate these horror crashes and drunk driving. People have known of these dangers for many years and yet they still happen.

I can vouch for the comment of Andrew V – I also rode with this individual at high school when he was doing 130km/h on the Monash Freeway and 140km/h-plus on the Wellington Road offramp!!

The worst however was an abrupt U-turn in Flinders Street in the city without slowing down. We were hanging on for dear life in the back of the car – an old 1968 Kingswood with no seatbelts in the back seat!! It seemed to be a high for him even though none of us were exactly impressed by his antics. Nedless to say any trips with him after that were very few and far between.

Wow, I feel like a conservative woose a lot of the time nowadays but I think i’m going to be the controversial one (or maybe not!).

Daniel, as you may have discovered in your conversion to becoming a ‘bikie’ on your holidays (heh!), the power to weight ratio on even a small bike can be quite a lot better than in a car. Given that your ‘footprint’ on a bike is also a lot smaller, it is possible to do things quicker, and in a smaller distance/space than in a car.

Given that those road markings are reflective (no pun intended) of the majority of road users i.e. car drivers, someone on a bike breaking the law by overtaking on double whites doesn’t necessarily equate to being unsafe.

It seems from your post that the person did not interfere with your travel, did not have a near-miss or a head-on crash with someone coming the other way and possibly just passed there because they knew they could do it safely (somewhat evidenced from the fact they did).

I know that our democracy has decreed that law and if that rider got booked for doing it, they shouldn’t argue it. But I can’t quite come to agree that it’s insane behaviour and completely irresponsible in every situation.

I didn’t ride the bike. At least not by myself. I don’t even know how. But I appreciate they are much more zoomy than a car.

What concerned me about the motorcyclist was I was doing about 100, so he whizzed passed me at probably 120, on a bend (that’s why the double-white lines were there). *If* someone had come around the corner the other way at 100, he’d have had nowhere to go.

They don’t paint double-white lines on the road for fun.

There’s a face book group set up as a memorial to the Mill Park tree which lost it’s life when hit on the 17th Jan.

This was set up because the the people involved were being glorified for doing some very stupid things risking the safety of the community as well as their own.

There are also Bourbon bottles and cigarette packets being left at the crash site by friends of the deceased. These people live in a world of their own.

What the hell happened to teh rate the plate website?? I didnt often need to log in there and it has been about 2mths I think since my last log in but its gone gone gone now.

It was so good for stuff like you experienced!

Great to see someone still placing their personal traffic experiences where others can read them!

I am a motorcyclist, I despise riding in packs or groups, I ride alone, and very rarely have a pillion.

I see so many examples of idiocy, and the reasons why motorcycles are so hard to insure, along with idiots that I can only call temporary Aussies, that it makes me sick!

I am soooooo sick of being placed into the “ooh another motorbike rider” basket and tarred with the same brush that you wrote about.

I abide by the laws, I dont go up the inside at traffic lights to get a few cars ahead, I dont ride over the speedlimit (ok, occasionally 5-10kmh but thats it)

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