Most drivers have seen it.
There you are waiting at a red light in peak-hour traffic as cars, trucks and buses slowly enter and exit the intersection from your left.
Most of them get through to the other side, but not all of them.
The lights turn green but there’s nowhere for you to go. Stuck.
There might not be a more infuriating traffic scenario. But it’s also incredibly dangerous.
It’s part of the reason prolific Melbourne-based transport blogger Daniel Bowen has taken it upon himself to shame the “bad drivers” responsible for breaking Victorian road rule #128.
On Twitter, Mr Bowen has been sharing photographs of drivers blocking intersections.
He’s not the only one. On social media, many are sharing their frustration at the lack of enforcement of a law that, if broken, carries a $159 fine and the loss of demerit points.
In one photo, police walk across the intersection outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court as two cars are stopped, illegally blocking traffic.
“The trick to blocking intersections in Melbourne without police caring is to do it in a car,” one user wrote on Twitter, a reference to the large police presence at recent Extinction Rebellion protests where climate activists blocked intersections by laying down in them.
Mr Bowen told news.com.au it “should be common sense” but motorists continued to regularly block intersections, particularly around the already overcrowded Melbourne CBD.
“It forces pedestrians and cyclists out into traffic lanes to get across the road and blocks trams, buses and other vehicles from getting through the lights,” he said.
“Traffic congestion in the city centre is not unusual and is nothing new. It would appear that some motorists need reminding of their obligations — an obvious first step would be signage and better education as well as some enforcement and fines from Victoria Police.”
Victoria Police did hand out more than 300 infringement notices for breaches of rule #128 last year, but data suggests it’s not a huge priority. According to Fairfax, 223 fines were given out for a breach of road rule #128 in 2017, but during the same time period 923,074 drivers were fined for speeding by less than 10km/h.
Motorists have had enough.
Emily McLean, the senior engineer for Roads and Traffic at RACV, told news.com.au the problem was impatient drivers unwilling to wait the 90 seconds that it took for a light to go from green to red and back to green again.
“It’s important that drivers know that a yellow light is not an indication to speed up through the intersection to beat the red light,” she said.
“A driver must not travel through a yellow traffic light if they are able to stop safely before the stop line. If a driver can’t stop safely before the line, they must stop before entering the intersection itself.
“If a driver has already entered the intersection when the light turns yellow or red, they must exit the intersection as soon as they can safely do so.”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the unique combination of pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trams made Melbourne’s intersections particularly precarious.
“Drivers who fail to judge traffic appropriately, or actively choose to enter the intersection regardless, run the risk of blocking access for pedestrians to cross the road safely,” she said.
“Police regularly run operations that specifically look at the safety of pedestrians. As a part of these operations police actively enforce against vehicles that block pedestrians from crossing the road safely.
“Police also regularly patrol congested areas and fine those who choose not to abide by the rule.”
Originally published as Road rule ‘bad drivers’ keep ignoring