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September 2007 Archives

September 13, 2007

'Driving in Canada' || 'What is up with those damned flashing green lights?'

WARNING
Driving in Canada is weird.

I'm not talking about the use of metric. I'm fine with that. Metric makes sense. It's simple. It's just foreign to most Americans. I'm talking about things like flashing green lights, no left turn lanes and no protected green arrows.

Let me back up a second. Lisa and I went to Vancouver, BC, yesterday to do some shopping. Everything was going relatively decently until we hit Vancouver. The freeway ended and we were on an arterial with traffic lights. We hit a red light almost immediately and waited for it to turn green. When it did, it was flashing. "That's different..." we thought. Everyone started to go, as did we, and I resigned myself to accept that flashing green just meant "go".

Then we had to cut across town to Main St. This is when we found out that there are no left turn lanes. And when you get to an intersection and want to make a left turn, you just have to sit out in the intersection, wait for a red light, wait for the oncoming traffic to clear, then 2 - 3 cars blow through the red light to make the left turn before the cross traffic starts. We did learn this from having to do it, so much as we learned it from being stuck behind someone else that needed to make a left. So with buses making frequent stops in the right lane and left turns (not) happening in the left lane, it became an excercise in quick lane changes to make it across town.

After a rather successful shopping trip, we had to head back the other way. This is when we learned of a different property of flashing green lights. Or maybe it's Canadian police right-of-way. A police officer that needs to cross a street that has a flashing green light evidently has the right-of-way without the need to have lights or sirens on. Four lanes of traffic stopped at a flashing green light to let a police car go on a cross street. What gives? Seriously.

I'll ask a Canadian coworker "aboot" it. Maybe the "tubes" can give me some info on it, as well. It just was not anything I was expecting, and therefore nothing I researched.

About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to I Geek, Therefore I am in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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