City Driving


I travel across town every day, naturally I come across many events that are strictly ‘City’. Not a week goes past that I don’t get in the way of a Fire Engine, Ambulance, or Police Car. These are not normal driving cruising events, but a full displays with hooters and lights. You hear the noise first, but you have no idea if you are involved, or where it’s coming from. As soon as I actually spot the Lights, I pull over and give way to whatever has the various authorities so excited. Never be in too much of a hurry to resume your journey should it be a Fire Engine, as they have a tendency travel in conveys. I’m often in the firing line when on my daily promenade, as I tend to travel only on the main arterial routes, always looking for the ‘Green Wave’.


By passing through the Central Business district you come by default an authority of the health of the various business you pass by. For instant, I can tell you that the motor industry is still undergoing a shake out. Because in the last month I have observed that two car lots, that appeared to the casual glance to be successful, but have been cleaned out of vehicles, and vanished from the surface of this earth leaving only their signage. I don’t count Asian takeaways, or mini restaurants, as they continually seem to change. Probably they are all running on a shoestring right from the start. This is also the main fault of most business that fail. They all seem to be undercapitalised, which is fine if the economy is expanding, but a death sentence when things slow down.


There is alway things of interest that you come across as you drive through the CBD. Yesterday a water main blew out and sent a three to four story column of water into the air outside the Plaza Hotel. Two police cars were quickly on the scene and did their best to flag away the congested traffic and pedestrians. No one wanted to move on until they had a good look at the spectacle, me included. Result, a really good ‘snarl up’.


The one thing travelling cross town that worries me, and that’s ‘tail gating’ by other motorists. The worst street for this seems to be Papanui road. The Road is now very narrow as they have included a cycle lane on each side of the road. Sprinkled the road liberally with Pedestrian Islands, and if that wasn’t enough, included two Bus lanes. I try to keep about twenty metres from the car I’m following, but I can’t do much about the idiot that’s following me. However the space I’m keeping from the vehicle in from is a constant attraction to all and sundry, a slot that must be filled. As they scrape in, as they do, I just drop back yet again. And why do I do this? Over the last few weeks I have observed several multi, nose to tail accidents, all caused by following too close. At least I halve my chances of being involved.


Nobody these days allow their children walk to school. They are all driven, or if you are brave enough, ride a bike. The congestion this driving your kids to school probably doubles the traffic around 9-00am and 3-00pm. I try to get my doctors and dentists visits outside these times, as both have their offices in close proximity to schools, where mothers double, treble, park to pick up their little darlings.


I mentioned cyclists, these road users are a special protected breed, they must all be colour blind as they ignore ‘Red” lights. They also have trouble of realising that they are no longer pedestrians, that they are now expected to obey vehicle road rules. You are not expected to ‘jump off’ your bike and start walking when you are confronted by a pedestrian crossing, claiming the right of way. Riding two or three abreast is not going to endear you to other road users either.



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