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03-08-2018, 10:19   #1
troyzer
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Rules of the road vs Laws of the road.

When I learned how to drive, the rules of the road book was golden.

I recently started a new job in Ballsbridge which starts at 7:00 AM. For the first time in my life, it made more sense to drive to work in a city rather than get public transport. It's been a really transformative experience and now I'm just convinced that the rules of the road and the laws of the road are two seperate things.

On my drive from Lucan to Ballsbridge there are several "rules" in certain parts of the road that break the law. For example, the N4 between Liffey Valley and the Chapelizod slipe road has a 60 km/h speed limit, this is the law of the road. The rule of the road is if you're not doing close to 80 km/h you will be beeped at and are dangerously obstructing traffic flow.

As you approach Heuston Station, there is a bus lane and a single lane for cars. The law of the road is that you stay in the single lane and when you come to Seán Heuston Bridge you're somehow supposed to segregate into different lanes to turn left or right. This is the law of the road. The rule of the road is that if you don't drive in the bus lane pretty much the whole way, you're going to get honked at by a truck traffic for "turning the wrong way".

On Bachelor's walk, the bus comes out and crosses two lanes of traffic to get into the right lane for O'Connell bridge. To do this, there are two sets of lights. One for the bus and one for cars. The law of the road is that you wait in the car lane for the green light and then go. But because the bus light is obviously green much more frequentely, the rule of the road is that nobody cares and everyone not only treats it as another car lane but actually as the fast lane because it goes green for longer. What is the point of even having a bus lane and light here if the law of the road isn't enforced?

These aren't isolated individuals being pricks. Nearly every driver observes the "rules" over the "laws" in these places and there is never any enforcement of the law. I've even seen the Gardaí do it.

What do we think? Do you have any other examples?

Last edited by troyzer; 03-08-2018 at 10:27.
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03-08-2018, 10:22   #2
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I thought you meant the rules of the road as in the book, which is non-binding as it's not 100% reflective of the road traffic acts. ie telling you you should do x and y when the law is either black or white etc
What you are talking about is simply just lack of enforcement and subsequent habit build-up
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03-08-2018, 10:24   #3
magicbastarder
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you're conflating two different uses of the word 'rules' there.

there's the Rules Of The Road, the guideline booklet issued by the RSA. in a very specific sense, there is no such thing legally as breaking 'The Rules of the Road' - the ROTR is a guideline based on the law, but is not actual law in and of itself. and it's been known to be wrong.
you are punished (we like to think) for breaking the law, not the ROTR.

you are using 'rules' in a sense of 'this is the way everyone else drives and you'll find yourself at a disadvantage if you don't follow them' sort of way, from what i can see.
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03-08-2018, 10:27   #4
seamus
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You seem to be confusing the "rules of the road", which is a book paraphrasing the law, with "culture", which are the accepted practices that exist, whether they are legal or not.

As long as you are obeying the law, the culture is irrelevant. There are millions of examples of local/cultural customs when it comes to driving, but that doesn't mean that they have any basis in law. I've heard of plenty of people being hauled into court for manouvers that they've made hundreds of times before without incident.
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03-08-2018, 10:33   #5
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I would not count to much on enforcement as my experience tells me the Guards have very limited knowledge of the rules or law of the road.
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03-08-2018, 10:36   #6
troyzer
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Okay, probably shouldn't have mentioned the book itself. I know the book isn't legally enforcable, I shouldn't have conflated the two.

I meant the rules as in posted speed limits, bus lanes etc.

My general point was that despite careful traffic engineering and posted laws of the road, there is a seperate rules of the road which most drivers abide by which is contrary to the law. And nobody does anything about it.

If you choose to abide by the law you're actually more dangerous than the majority of people who are choosing to follow this organically developed rule instead. The 60km/h limit is probably the best example. If you're doing 60km/h in that area while everyone else is doing 80km/h, you are a liability. There is a reason why motorways for example have minimum speed limits.
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03-08-2018, 10:40   #7
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Originally Posted by troyzer View Post
My general point was that despite careful traffic engineering and posted laws of the road, there is a seperate rules of the road which most drivers abide by which is contrary to the law. And nobody does anything about it.
Unfortunately there is plenty of terrible traffic engineering around that if people stuck to no-one would get anywhere.
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03-08-2018, 10:44   #8
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so what you are saying is that some people drive without obeying the ROTR. am shocked, it's lucky am sitting down. in fact i feel quite faint.




you know there is a saying, attributed to Gandhi, be the change you want to see in the world. if a few beeps from other road users bother you then stop driving, if not then drive the way you are supposed to, not the way that is just lazy/easy/whatever. there are several junction around where i live which are meant to be used in fashion A but plenty use them in fashion B. I don't care, if they hit me they will find out how wrong they are so feck it. i drive correctly, thats all i need to worry about.
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03-08-2018, 10:47   #9
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Originally Posted by troyzer View Post
If you're doing 60km/h in that area while everyone else is doing 80km/h, you are a liability. There is a reason why motorways for example have minimum speed limits.
no you are not the liability, you are the one following the law, ie the speed limit.

put the foot down, do 80, then explain in court that you were following the local rule of the road, see what a judge thinks.

the more people who obey the limit, no matter how stupidly low some are, the more it will persuade others to slow down. not all, but eventually more will do 60 than 80. herd mentality.
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03-08-2018, 10:53   #10
troyzer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soups05 View Post
so what you are saying is that some people drive without obeying the ROTR. am shocked, it's lucky am sitting down. in fact i feel quite faint.




you know there is a saying, attributed to Gandhi, be the change you want to see in the world. if a few beeps from other road users bother you then stop driving, if not then drive the way you are supposed to, not the way that is just lazy/easy/whatever. there are several junction around where i live which are meant to be used in fashion A but plenty use them in fashion B. I don't care, if they hit me they will find out how wrong they are so feck it. i drive correctly, thats all i need to worry about.
My point isn't that some people violate the law, that's hardly a surprise. But there are some instances where EVERYONE violates the law.

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no you are not the liability, you are the one following the law, ie the speed limit.

put the foot down, do 80, then explain in court that you were following the local rule of the road, see what a judge thinks.

the more people who obey the limit, no matter how stupidly low some are, the more it will persuade others to slow down. not all, but eventually more will do 60 than 80. herd mentality.
I did this for the first year or so of having my license and after a while there's just no point. Constantly being beeped at and dangerously undertaken is very much the other person's fault. But the fact remains that if everyone breaks the law simultaneously, it sort of works in a weird way. I'm not agreeing with it and I think everyone should obey the law but not only does the individual obeying the law make no difference, they're just putting themselves at risk. Which, again, isn't their fault but it's just the way it is.

A regular speed van in this area might not be a bad idea. I've seen a van once since I moved back from Australia this time last year and I drive along that stretch at least twice a day, most days.

In the Bachelor's Walk example, I do actually stay in the car lane. Mostly because it just irritates me too much to see the buses struggle to pull out because twats in their Chelsea tractors feel entitled to the bus lane.
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03-08-2018, 11:04   #11
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Just do what you are supposed to do and not what other road users try to get away with. If you want to break the rules of the road for whatever reason and a lot do it, then do so based on your own judgement at the time and not on any unwritten rules of the road.

The m50 flyover in blanch heading into town is one example, it's 30kph and very few do it as its a ridiculous low speed but it's the speed that's limit and just because most people don't obey it, it doesn't mean there is an unwritten rule there for people to do whatever they want.
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03-08-2018, 11:14   #12
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Originally Posted by Hilly Bill View Post
Just do what you are supposed to do and not what other road users try to get away with. If you want to break the rules of the road for whatever reason and a lot do it, then do so based on your own judgement at the time and not on any unwritten rules of the road.

The m50 flyover in blanch heading into town is one example, it's 30kph and very few do it as its a ridiculous low speed but it's the speed that's limit and just because most people don't obey it, it doesn't mean there is an unwritten rule there for people to do whatever they want.
The Blanch one is another good example, I completely forgot about it. I don't think it's an unwritten rule for people to do whatever they want, but I think most people on that flyover subconsciously think "30km/h is a bit ridiculous, let's call it 50km/h or 60km/h".
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03-08-2018, 11:15   #13
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There is a reason why motorways for example have minimum speed limits.
I don't think that motorways in Ireland have a minimum speed limit. I think that the rule (law?) is that your vehicle must be capable of travelling at more than 50KmPH.

There is certainly a culture of law breaking amongst road users which tends to be seen as generally acceptable as enforcement tends to be sporadic at best.

That being said I would not advise that you raise the issue with a Guard on the street (particularly if you have been stopped while complying with the culture (rather than the law)

TLDR - what Hilly bill said
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03-08-2018, 11:21   #14
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The Blanch one is another good example, I completely forgot about it. I don't think it's an unwritten rule for people to do whatever they want, but I think most people on that flyover subconsciously think "30km/h is a bit ridiculous, let's call it 50km/h or 60km/h".
They just don't want to slow down much after doing 80 either side of it. They also don't bother thinking about the reason behind it. That flyover is poorly designed and the speed limit is set to account for large vehicles. We really shouldn't be doing things such as going over at 50/60 on the fly because we disagree with it. There needs to be a big push to properly implement road design instead of impeding us by it. It's the same issues with junction 9 and junction 7.
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03-08-2018, 11:48   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilly Bill View Post
The m50 flyover in blanch heading into town is one example, it's 30kph and very few do it as its a ridiculous low speed but it's the speed that's limit and just because most people don't obey it, it doesn't mean there is an unwritten rule there for people to do whatever they want.
isn't there some saying about it being your duty to ignore stupid or unjust laws, or actively protest against them?

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I don't think that motorways in Ireland have a minimum speed limit. I think that the rule (law?) is that your vehicle must be capable of travelling at more than 50KmPH.
correct. the vehicle has to be capable of 50kph but there is no lower speed limit on a motorway
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