Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning to act right (20)… Law without order!

Learning to act right (20)… Law without order!
Torrey Orton
August 30, 2011

Tram Traffic Travesty
I'm a persistent user and preferrer of public transport since I've lived in a large city (40 years). Since my own first seniors moment (2003) of passing out and getting pace-made for life, I've been attentive to the regulation of tram/car relationships on my regular journey routes. The road safety rule (#163) is embarrassingly clear – when driving a vehicle do not ever pass a stopped tram whose doors are open and warning lights are blinking. Realising that a heart stoppage (itself not remotely dangerous; just a pause in the beat) can occur at any time, even with a pacemaker, primes me to attention on descending from trams.

I haven't counted the number of times some fool roars thru a clearly marked tram stop even though all the required warning lights are blinking and doors are open on the tram. Pretty much instant mush if I stumble. I guess once or twice a month I see this and I only ride two days a week max and have been doing so for 10 years. It's a mistake I've almost made myself once or twice.

One clear morning recently (130811 to be precise, 10:20am) I was myself second car back from a tram stopping on Bridge Road, Richmond (my normal get on / off tram stop just near home) and close enough to see a grey BMW 4door 4WD wagon with multiple exhausts power up to sneak thru the stopping tram, missing the call by meters as the doors opened and first passengers started to get out.

I was able to follow a kilometre up Burwood Road into Hawthorn and by Power Street, a kilometre away, had come up within easy sight of the Victorian plates (Y.. 1.. – would I be invading their privacy if I published the whole plate number here?) and then turned off into the Renaissance car park to make the notes underpinning this plaint. With a mild burst of vengeful inspiration I thought, "I've got this one for sure." Now how to haul it in? I tried Vic Roads and Yarra Trams and got a neutral brush off to the local cop shop. 'We cannot prosecute anyone' their reps said (not even your ticket protectors can? I'm wondering now). Only the police can do that.

So I fronted at my local police a few days later. Guess what? They can't prosecute on the basis of my first hand witness with dated event notes back up either. Only if one of their divisionals happens to be sitting there at the moment and is facing the right way and isn't distracted with a sanger and a cuppa.

The best the young officer could offer was to take my particulars and put them on the maybe to be noted list of divisional assignments, leading then maybe to a divisional van ambling thru the tram stop occasionally to collect very occasional and totally unpredictable tram stop malefactors.

Nuts. What happened to citizen arrests or complaints??? Help me out here, pls.

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