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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Many Drivers Don't Respect the Do Not Pass Laws at Muni Metro Stops

The new Muni Metro Pedestrian Sticker (Edited)

"Hey, what the f--- are you doing!?!?!?!"

That's the first words I blurted out loud when I just exited the metro yesterday morning before 9AM. To those I offended by saying the f-word in public, sorry.

Here's what happened:
I had to visit a local x-ray center to get my teeth scanned, so I took the M-Ocean View metro from my workplace at SF State to 14th and West Portal. When the train got to 14th Avenue, I exited the train, looked both ways to make sure it was okay to cross, and noticed a grey SUV approaching at about 300 feet towards the train in the right lane (the train was in the track lane on the left).

There was enough time to reach the curb with the assumption the SUV would stop as well (even if the SUV was approaching, I could walk fast enough to cross), so I hopped off the train and was about eight feet away from the sidewalk/curb.

Instead of the SUV stopping, it decided to keep driving through the stopped metro train with inches to spare from clipping me. To make matters worse, two other passengers stepped off the train (exited) and saw the SUV pass by IN FRONT OF THEM. That's when I yelled out, "HEY, WHAT THE F--- ARE YOU DOING?!?!"

Instead of the SUV driver admitting to a mistake and quickly coming to a stop, it decides to quickly stop at the intersection and speed off very quickly down West Portal.

As for me yelling out the f-word, I sure had a lot of people staring at me, but hopefully they knew why; that idiot driver could have mowed down up to three people, including myself.


This brings me to the topic of the day: Why are people disrespecting the "Do Not Pass" laws when a light rail and cable car is stopped at a designated stop to discharge and accept passengers?

Every time I ride the metro or the California line cable car I see it every time, some prick driver deciding to speed through while the vehicle is stopped to discharge and accept passengers.

It seems to be worse on the California cable car line because tourists sometimes don't look both ways and you get a bunch of rude drivers who just doesn't obey the law; in one case, I was a driver, and stopped for a cable car discharging passengers. The taxicab behind me decides to blow his horn at me, so I give the driver the finger as more passengers discharge from the cable car.

Even Stanley Roberts of KRON took on this issue with this video report:

The law states that if a metro train or cable car is stopped to pickup/discharge passengers, a driver must stop behind the vehicle to allow the passengers to board and exit without fear of being hit. A driver can attempt to proceed/pass a railed vehicle on the right side only when the vehicle starts moving.

In some circumstances, the boarding island will have a sign saying it's OK to pass, but at a reduced speed. You find these on Ocean Avenue for the K-Ingleside line where you can pass on the right, but only at 10MPH when the light rail vehicle is stopped at the island. In other cases, you can pass at full speed because the island has barriers to separate pedestrians from vehicles (e.g. St. Francis Circle metro stop, see photo by clicking here).

In my case, 14th Avenue and West Portal didn't have a barrier, only a boarding island that only covers half of a one car train, therefore the "do not pass" law applies.

Drivers who violates the law: What's your damn hurry? Is it worth a $250 fine and a point on your driving record? Is it worth facing a judge in traffic court and possibly spending time at traffic school? It is worth raising your insurance rates? And is it worth possibly hitting a pedestrian, paying their medical bills/funeral costs, getting arrested, prosecuted, and spending time in jail? Hell no.

So do me a favor drivers, when a metro train or cable car is stopped and passengers must exit by crossing a traffic lane, just stop behind it. All I need is more x-ray radiation to check for a broken arm, leg, and other stuff.

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