Friday, November 11, 2011

Re: Improvement or not

I got a reply to my email from the city bureaucrats about adding an extra yeilding sign to an intersection under construction. It was no surprise there wouldn't be a temporary yield sign in the foreseeable future, but what was a small suprise for me was the fact that it was supposed to be obvious who has to yield (in this case, the cars). Well, to me it wasn't, otherwise I wouldn't have written them! ;-)

According to the Finnish law, a turning vehicle must yield to other traffic going straight. This includes cyclists on the street and on a bikeway next to the street. In the picture below, a vehicle marked by the blue arrow (or another coming from the other direction, doesn't matter) wanting to turn to the side street (green arrow) has to yield to the cyclist.
Yellow hi-vis lycra lout scofflaw cyclist...

Another part of the law says that the cyclist must yield when he's crossing the road at a bikeway-street intersection. And here comes the problem: How close must the bikeway be to an intersection to be considered part of the intersection? Here the bikeway is pretty far from the intersection, and some drivers might think the bikeway is a separate path. An extra yield sign at the "?" would have clarified the situation.

The email also said that the traffic laws and other regulations set guidelines how to build intersections. They also set the default yielding rules that everyone expects. To deviate from the default settings would mean extra work has to be done to make cyclists safe. They don't build bikeway-street intersections where cyclists would have priority, because that would be outside of the norm. I hate that, I'd have liked to say we have at least one spot in Oulu where cyclists have priority over cars.

Though the underpasses are kind of an extra special priority lanes :-)

ps. Beautiful full moon yesterday evening! Just a little snow on the ground, please and the world would be a lot brighter place to ride at night.

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