Monday, July 5, 2010

Traffic Sign, I Didn't See No Stinkin Sign!

For those of you who have visited the "Colfax/Federal Transfer Center" in your travels, you know it has a funky intersection just outside of it.

At "O'Dark Thirty" I'm pulling out of the Center and ready to turn right back onto Federal.
It's a red light.
So we're sitting there.

A passenger in the back says out loud to the bus, "What, this guy is afraid to turn on a red?"
There is literally no other traffic on the road and because the intersection has no sensors in the road, we've been sitting there staring at the red light for a full three minutes, what seemed like an hour.

The passenger doesn't realize that there is a sign right in front of me which reads, "No right turn on red"
But as I've said before, any response from me just sounds like an excuse and now the rest of the passengers are starting to say, "Go, just turn, there's nobody coming, there aren't any cops around..."etc.

What they don't understand is that sign is there for a reason.
Not just the reason to annoy us and make our lives difficult.
Unlike our personal vehicles, the bus cannot react as quickly.
I can't see as clearly.
If you've been at that Center, you know that Colfax goes over I-25 and there are huge fences along the walls/overpass along that stretch.
So sight is severly limited and restricted; you can't see cars coming.

I could throw caution to the wind, disobey the traffic warning and go and odds are we'd be fine.
No tickets, no accidents and nobody would be the wiser.
Forget the traffic cameras, the cameras in the bus and the street supervisors who lurk EVERYWHERE!

Let's assume I pulled out and that one in one hundred chance happens and we get hit.
There are 60 people who are going to get hurt on the bus.
Plus me.
Plus the poor guy minding his business before a bus pulls out in front of him as he hits it at speed.
He'll probably die.
His kids in the car...dead.
The passengers on that side of the bus, if not critically injured...dead.
The guy runing for the bus because he saw me sitting there just a second ago and he thought he could catch us...dead.

Get the point?

The other night, I'm crossing a railroad track.
Buses have to stop at almost all tracks to check for trains.
It's early in the morning and I've never had a train far.
But this one morning, a train did come.
The engine silently crossed the road just as we pulled up to the crossing.
All the regulars were like, "woah!"
One of the regulars regularly prompts me not to stop, to just keep going.
It's not one of those stops with the gates that come down to block the crossing.
What if the warning signals hadn't come on?
I pull across the tracks at just that one unlucky moment and.....


Points made, right?
I know that the traffic signs seem to have been designed to toy with and annoy us.
But they have reasons.
And I have to heed them or I'm not being safe to you, to the drivers around us, to RTD or to myself.
Safety is first and foremost, y'all know that, right?

As always, "Welcome aboard, find your seats - Let's Roll!"

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