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May 18, 2008

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Fred Cherney

My relatives tell me the Niagara area OPP are the nastiest in the province. I took this with a grain of salt until to-day.

Driving east on Hwy 20 in the pouring rain, I came across a large electric sign with arrows pointing to both sides. It said "road closed by the police". The problem was, the arrows pointed to dead-end roads.

Picture cars and trucks braking in the wet and turning on to sideroads which had no exits, frustrated drivers making u-turns, traffic trying to enter and exit these cul-de-sacs in the pouring rain (and limited visibility) and people trying to re-trace their steps to find a way out of the "detour"!

Turns out, placing the sign one block ahead would have resulted in a smooth detour on roads that not only went somewhere but would get you on your way.

Well thought out, folks!

Hi Fred:

Well, if there are any Niagara Detachment O.P.P. out there, maybe they have an explanation? Sounds pretty odd...

Cheers,

Jim

Tom

On another note: I was sitting southbound on the 404 around Sheppard Ave watching all of the cars fly by in the HOV lanes. I was thinking, can all of these cars have multiple occupants (including blow-up dummies)? So I started counting how many vehicles contained just a driver. Give or take some limited errors (deep tinted windows and the like), my estimate was that 24% of the vehicles had single occupants. Of course, no enforcement to be seen anywhere. This bothered me (I abide by the rules). Also, while sitting in traffic, I witnessed countless vehicles that either pulled out into the HOV lane (very dangerous with cars going along at 120 km/h), or tried to sneak back into the regular lanes before the HOV lane ended at the DVP.

Hi Tom:

I have always wondered about HOV lanes which allow you to car-pool in a Miata. I mean, TWO people in a car? In California maybe, where one-to-an-SUV is the norm.

My understanding is that when the HOV lanes were first introduced, there was some fairly serious enforcement.

From your comment, it seems they have backed off.

I recall speaking with a former senior OPP officer many years ago about enforcing things like this - in that case it was people who run on the shoulder to get ahead, a particular pet peeve of mine. He said when they DID run people for that, the feedback they got - phone calls, letters, whatever - was about fifty-fifty. Some - like me! - would say, "Throw the book at them!" The rest said, "They're just trying to get home, like everybody else. Leave them alone. And having a police car on the shoulder, lights ablaze, causes people to slow down and gawk, making the problem even worse."

I suspect that would be similar to the reaction you'd get for tougher HOV violations.

But I do agree, as a basic law-abider, I hate to see people taking unfair and illegal advantage of these things.

The other thing I don't like about HOV lanes is that it further disrupts the "laminar" flow of traffic. Only one lane, so if some guy gets in there and decides to drive at 95 km/h, he creates a huge backlog behind him which can only be overcome by diving out of the HOV lane - right into the fast lane of the regular highway! I don't know if they have any stats on how big an issue this really is, but as you say it looks scary when it happens.

I stay away from any highway that has an HOV lane whenever traffic is busy enough to make them worthwhile - I'm lucky that my job usually allows me that luxury, so I don't really know how valuable they are.

But for sure the couple of times I have used them in California - well, you'd be nuts NOT to car pool.

Then again, you'd probably have to be nuts to live in California anyway.

Cheers,

Jim

Sean McConnell

Speaking of "making up traffic laws"...

I posted a thread (as Bookm) about a threatened "racing" charge by one of our local officers:
http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/topic362.html

The thread seemed to conclude that this officer made up this "racing" charge. I consider this to be professional misconduct.

I am now so distrustful of the police that I teach my kids how to protect themselves from traffic cops. I teach them to keep their mouths shut and bring me the ticket. Tickets have now become "family projects" of which we create defense strategies and plan for trials.

When Bill 203 goes away, I will return as that happy-go-lucky guy who supports his local police force.

Cheers
Sean

Fred Cherney

Think I found competition for the Niagara OPP!

Got a call from a buddy this morning. He was quite shaken
Driving south on Bayview from Steeles in the grey twilight, he encountered a grey unmarked police car "parked" in the middle of the road (in the northbound left turn lane) with no lights.
Every few minutes the officer jumped out with his flashlight to nail a speeder.
This struck him as a very dangerous situation as any car could hit the cruiser or the officer.
Guess they must have put the radar police on commission!
Fred

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