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Boneheads, please drive nice or park it

By LORRIE LYKINS
Published September 27, 2006


It's amazing to me that there isn't more road rage. I think about this every time I venture out in the Buick, which is usually every day.

And at least once a day I conclude that there are just too many cars on the road and no matter what we do in the way of widening lanes and adding overpasses, it won't help much because a lot of the problems are caused by the actions of the inconsiderate boneheads with whom we have the misfortune of sharing the roads.

The most spectacular display of bone-headed driving I witnessed recently took place in the parking lot of the PetSmart at Tyrone Boulevard and Park Street.

I watched in gape-mouthed fascination as a red pickup drove through the parking lot of the Crabby Bill's restaurant, crossed the Pinellas Trail - yes, I said crossed the Pinellas Trail meant for joggers and bicycles and strolling pedestrians - hopped a curb and burned rubber into the Wal-Mart parking lot. I don't know about you, but it just doesn't get any more bone-headed than that for me.

Reader Sam Roberts wrote to me last week: "Please address the issue of cars blocking streets. I travel Fourth and Ninth Street daily and notice that when traffic slows or stops at a red light, vehicles will block the side streets. It's especially inconsiderate when a vehicle is waiting to enter or cross the street and drivers ... sit there, blocking the way. Isn't there a city or state law prohibiting this practice?"

Yes, there is a law. It's called not violating the right of way. But there seems to be rampant disregard for this particular traffic rule and even more so, an absence of common courtesy and sense because really, observation of traffic laws aside, who intentionally blocks an intersection? The only drivers I see doing it are either too obnoxiously impatient to wait their turn or obviously lacking the cognitive function to realize that they have made a poor choice.

Some particularly troublesome spots around town now have signs that read "Do Not Block Intersection," but those aren't always observed, especially when to observe the sign means preventing vehicles behind from accessing the turn lane ahead.

This is the case on 102nd Avenue in Seminole, where westbound motorists stopped at the traffic light between Seminole Boulevard and 113th Street N are admonished via signage not to block the flow of traffic in and out of a side street one block east of 113th.

So there you sit, dutifully observing the sign, keeping the intersection free, but the drivers behind you fail to appreciate this and so you may find yourself on the receiving end of horn-blowing, yelling and some not-so-nice gesturing.

I don't know what the solution may be, but I think whoever came up with the wistful "just be nice" slogan had a good idea.

If only people would be a little nicer on the road.

Dr. Delay's column appears regularly in the south Pinellas regional editions of the Times. Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at docdelay@yahoo.com.

[Last modified September 27, 2006, 00:55:22]


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