Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Bête Noires of Toronto Driving

Update, 3 December 2009 11:24:36 EST::  I was in IM and a concerned was raised about privacy and license plates.  There was an interesting post in Citynoise of with a pic. of an Audi R8 parking in 4 handicapped spaces at a Montréal Costco.  {BTW, I wonder how the poutine is in Québec Costcos.  I digest, I mean digress, to use a Peter Griffinism.}  There was a lot of back and forth on the privacy angle and citing of a Canadian Privacy Commission case.  I'm not a legal scholar, but I'm not sure that case is all that applicable.  A true test would be whether the site, Zapatag, is deemed a violation of privacy.  It's a site allowing for the crowdsourced reporting of bad driving.  I had a feeling when I mentioned crowdsourcing {below} that something like this probably exists.  --Kmk

The National Post did a top 10 list of Toronto drivers' pet peeves, as collected by the police last week.  This one caught my eye and I'll tell you why::
"#2 - Lane cutters  This came in most described as the drivers who leave the curb lane on an expressway, jump on an entrance ramp, and pass cars just to cram themselves back into the curb lane again. Illegal, rude, inconsiderate and for pass four or five, you got so much further ahead."
Last night, I was coming into Toronto from Michigan.  It started raining pretty hard from around Guelph into Toronto.  The 401 was jammed, so I got off at Allen Road and took Eglinton eastbound towards Yonge.  Around Bathurst, the above genius decided to use the right lane as a passing lane, until s/he came upon some parked cars.  At the last moment, they aggressively darted into my lane.  I wish I had caught them with my camera in flagrante delicto.  I had room to manœuvre and was able to brake without incident–and leeeeaaan on the horn.  If I were in York Region, e.g., up in Richmond Hill, there's a handy dandy incident form.  No such luck finding one for Toronto.  Let's face it, it would generate terabytes of finger pointing, but I wonder if non-anonymous crowdsourcing of blatant offenders and tracking the incidence of incidents might get us all to mind our behaviour.  That said, if you see a silver Volvo with an Ontario plate BBLJ 813, wattchout for cutting.

I hate driving in California in the rain because it seems like everyone loses their minds and seem to have no clue about driving in it.  I tend to be hypervigilent in rainy weather and that tendency has served me well.  Ah, the rainy day lane cutters.  Sounds like a good title for an indie song.  Bryan Ferry has bête noir covered.

Twitterversion::  #NationalPost posts #Toronto drivers' pet peeves. I experience one of them on a rainy night on #Eglinton nr. #Bathurst.  @Prof_K


Officer Mazaltoff said...

You should try driving in Vancouver when it's snowed. For some reason, bad weather seems to bring out bad drivers. Perhaps they feel that since the weather is being bad, they have the right to drive badly.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

There's something about what I call "car culture." I grew up with it in southern California, land of highspeed car chases and freeway shootings. I guess what I mean by car culture is a way of thinking that, in my opinion, makes people feel like they're in these bubbles, along with a healthy dose of entitlement—my space on the road, my time is more valuable than yours, my right to drive {as opposed to a privilege}.

I did a blog post on the ex-Attorney General of Ontario killing a bike messenger {who was allegedly intoxicated} in a road rage incident. This was in heavy traffic on a big street, Bloor. I really have no clue what was going through Bryant's mind. I get a sense he felt very unsafe and freaked out. Unfortunately, in the process, he killed a guy. So, while people weigh in on whether or not he was justified in his actions, regarding being afraid of an allegedly drunk guy on a bike, I've always felt that he nevertheless is in vehicle that can furnish deadly force. So, somehow, like my lane cutter on Eglinton, I get a sense that this was lost on Bryant that moment and I'll hazard to guess for many drivers. I attribute it to this "bubble" that drivers feel they're in behind the wheel.