A very fine essay…

I am pleased to see that my friend Chipseal has published his fine essay, “The Steps of the Dance.” Saith Chipseal:

Most of us use the roadway system as we do our common everyday electronics—we tend to take for granted what makes them function. There is a practical elegance to the way our streets and roads operate, and a greater awareness of it would make us all more civil, safer and cooperative citizens.

There are two overarching principles that are the basis of our uniform traffic code. These two principles lead inevitably to six basic rules of traffic that govern nearly all of our daily traffic experience.


8 replies
  1. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    Wow, top billing and kind words too!

    Because Keri and other noteworthy bloggers indulged me and offered advice on how to make this piece better, it was transformed from utter dreck to something reasonably readable!

    Thank you Keri!

  2. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    What, exactly, is “dreck?” I thought it was pretty good before people started offering advice. Fortunately, ChipSeal had the good sense to publish before the rubble started bouncing…

  3. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    dreck (drek)
    noun; Slang for trash; rubbish
    Etymology: Yiddish drek < Ger dreck, dirt < IE *(s)treg- L stercus, excrement
    Ain’t the intra-nets grand?

  4. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    I certainly liked the essay. Definitely not drek!

    What I found most interesting was the different traffic rules in Texas vs. Ontario. In particular, Texas does not seem to have the Ontario rule that at an interesction without a traffic control sign, the vehicle approaching from the right has right of way, and the vehicle on the left must yield right of way. The size of road, traffic volume and traffic speed are irrelevant.

    Is it the same in Florida?

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      AFAIK, yielding to traffic on the right is only at 4-way stop signs.

      Texas and FL are very similar, only minor modifications to the UVC. Texas has a mandatory bike lane law, Florida doesn’t. Texas does not does not specifically exclude non-motorized vehicles from the impeding traffic statute, Florida does.

  5. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    On a first read of our far-to-right (FTR) rule it would seem that there is no motorist/non-motorist distinction. The statute is found in a sub-paragraph of the “drive on right” section:

    Sec. 545.051. DRIVING ON RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY. (b) An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is: (1) passing another vehicle; or (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    However, the TTC makes the following definition:
    Sec. 545.002. OPERATOR. In this chapter, a reference to an operator includes a reference to the vehicle operated by the operator if the reference imposes a duty or provides a limitation on the movement or other operation of that vehicle.

    So in fact, our FTR includes all manner of vehicles, motorized or not.

    As seems natural, legislators have trouble when it comes to bicycle legislation, and so we have redundant and contradictory language in the TTC where bicycles are defined as both vehicles and seeming non-vehicles at the same time!

    An interesting observation, that probably deserves a separate post, is that the TTC rightly governs only the “operator” of a vehicle when it comes to traffic movements and right of way, not the inanimate vehicles that are used. What is it Keri says? Oh yes; “Streets are for people.”

  6. Angie
    Angie says:

    Excellent essay! How very true that driving and cycling would both be so much more peaceful if drivers had an understanding of the rules of the road and thus different expectations. I also appreciate the point about just because something is not the most common mode of transport, it does not mean it’s illegal. Very clear and to the point – great job!

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