Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Red lights mean 'share', not 'stop'

Here's a question for you - one from my mom.

What does the red traffic light mean?

Now, I'm sure you're going to say a well-drilled "Stop" but I'd like you to look at it a little differently.

It actually means, "It's time to give someone else a turn".

When two children want to play with the same toy, a good solution is to set a stop watch and to give each child 10 minutes with the toy. Fair and square.

In the same light, we share roads and we share intersections.

Red lights are not the bad guys out to get you and to prevent you from getting to your destination. Instead they give people travelling across the intersection the opportunity to do so.

Cars that fly through on late-orange and red or block a slow-moving intersection because they keep creeping forward on orange and red are like children who snatch toys from another child. They're all "me-me-me, gimme-gimme-gimme, mine-mine-mine".  Self-obsessed.

I really enjoy my mom's perspective of traffic lights (and stop streets and traffic circles).

This simple 'red light' traffic control rule is not there to impede your progress but to aid it. Just as the red for you allows you the opportunity to let someone else have a turn, so red for them allows them the opportunity to let you take your turn.

It's not as much about stopping as sharing. My turn, your turn.

Wishing you enlightened commuting this week...

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