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Stop Signs and Bridges

By KB1971 - 15 December 2012 21

So I thought I pretty well have the road rules sorted but something just happened to me that has got me thinking.

Tharwa Bridge. It has a give way on the northern end and a stop sign on the southern end.

The stop sign is there because you cant really see what is on the bridge so you need to stop to be safe, no dramas there.

This afternoon I approached the stop sign, stopped, nothing was on the bridge so it was safe to go. At the same time a bloke in a ute appeared at the give way sign at the other end and proceeded through the give way sign and onto the bridge. Assume he was going faster than the 20km/h speed limit as it took him a fair while to stop once I had started moving.

Anyway I get across and I wave but he shakes his head at me like I was an idiot.

My way of thinking is, I stopped, nothing was on the bridge, he wasn’t at the give way sign quite yet so I was right to proceed as I had already done my stopping procedure.

My wife sees it differently, she thinks I have to stop until all traffic is clear no matter what.

The Australian Road Rules are silent on stop signs on bridges but gives rules for a give way sign (unless I am missing a rule, I could not find it).

Anyway, thoughts? I am not having a rant, I just want to know how other people might approach this situation to trolls need not apply.

What’s Your opinion?


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21 Responses to
Stop Signs and Bridges
KB1971 7:56 am 17 Dec 12

c_c™ said :

Assume he was going faster than the 20km/h speed limit as it took him a fair while to stop once I had started moving.

Reading this, it’s clear that the OP moved off after the other vehicle was in sight.

OK, I will clarify this point. I stopped, the bridge and road was clear. Because of the design of the bridge the view north at the other end is obstructed by the bridge. The ute came into full view pretty well at the same time I moved off the line and quite quickly and at what seemed like highway speed through the 50 sign hence the time to stop. By the time I had time to think about stopping I was a full car length over the stop line.

I kept moving in the belief that I had right of way as I was there first and had completed my stopping maneuver and it was safe to go as he was not actually on the bridge not because I wanted him to stop or be a jerk.

After thinking about it I do think he may have thought I just drove through a stop sign because he would not have been able to see me at the stop sign hence the shaking of the head.

I am actually usually pretty courteous in this sort of situation and have in the past stopped at the northern end when I have seen cars stopped at the other end but have not started moving yet.

The way I approach one lane bridges is if you are there first, you get right of way. It was just the conversation with my wife in the car on the way home that got me thinking differently.

JC 5:02 am 17 Dec 12

Namloot said :

I think I’ve worked it out….As you approach the bridge entry southbound it turns right. You always give way to your right ! Leaving Tharwa the bridge entry turns right also…As you probably concur , two give way signs are not an option, So which side should have the stop sign or maybe the old traffic light setup like the cotter bridge be considered. My 2c.

2c worth but wrong. No reason what so ever you couldn’t have two give way signs, as mentioned above a give way sign does not have precedence over a stop sign. The difference is at a stop you stop then give way.

Also yes did misread the OP but he was still in the right. He stopped, the bridge was clear and he took off. The fact a car was approaching the give way sign doesn’t matter. Once he was on the bridge it was then up to the other car to give way to him. Again the reason is a give way sign does not have precedence over a stop.

Namloot 9:02 pm 16 Dec 12

I think I’ve worked it out….As you approach the bridge entry southbound it turns right. You always give way to your right ! Leaving Tharwa the bridge entry turns right also…As you probably concur , two give way signs are not an option, So which side should have the stop sign or maybe the old traffic light setup like the cotter bridge be considered. My 2c.

c_c™ 3:25 pm 16 Dec 12

Assume he was going faster than the 20km/h speed limit as it took him a fair while to stop once I had started moving.

Reading this, it’s clear that the OP moved off after the other vehicle was in sight.

Slumlord 3:10 pm 16 Dec 12

What sort of person shakes their head when you give them a wave?

JC 3:08 pm 16 Dec 12

c_c™ said :

The OP could see the other vehicle coming and chose to try and beat him. This is no different to the jerk at an intersection who drives across oncoming traffic trying to beat it.

The OP said that he saw the vehicle AFTER he had stopped and started to move. So really he was in the right and there really wasn’t much else he could do, except maybe go the long way round.

c_c™ 2:00 pm 16 Dec 12

I’m going to have to go with the other driver on this one, the OP was in the wrong.

Both signs have equal weight, in that they both require the driver to yield to traffic already in the intersection (or on a bridge in this case).

Just because it’s a bridge and not an intersection should not change anything at all. You would still treat the other traffic the same as you would oncoming vehicles from the side at an intersection. Which is to say that they have a Give Way sign and don’t need to stop, merely slow down, while you are required to stop and therefore your vehicle will require more time to move off.

The OP could see the other vehicle coming and chose to try and beat him. This is no different to the jerk at an intersection who drives across oncoming traffic trying to beat it.

screaming banshee 10:34 am 16 Dec 12

In car camera FTW

JC 10:32 am 16 Dec 12

Innovation said :

Ahh yes, I know, but you would be surprised how many drivers don’t understand. I haven’t been there for quite a while but drivers behind the vehicle at the give way line would regularly get annoyed if they tried to give way to a stopped vehicle opposite.

And what if the opposing car hasn’t yet stopped and the other car is already at or near the give way sign? It seems that right of way there is all about timing, which is quite subjective. Right of way on a roundabout, which I agree with you, is much clearer – although probably still quite hard to prove in an accident.

You would be surprised how

Give way is all about timing and of course judgement in any situation, not just roundabouts and the intersection you are talking about.

It is also very subjective too. For example the other day I was driving along Gininderra Drive in Dunlop at the posted speed of 80km/h when a car decided to turn left out of Lance Hill into the lane I was in. There was no immediate danger but I had to slow down to about 50km/h to avoid giving him the Liberace. I reckon he failed to give way to me, but when you read the definition of give way in the rules (definition below) even in this common situation I wouldn’t be 100% sure. The other driver could well argue it was safe to proceed, even though I had to take action, not immediate of course to avoid hitting them.

The road rules defines give way as:

give way, for a driver or pedestrian, means:
(a) if the driver or pedestrian is stopped — remain stationary until
it is safe to proceed; or
(b) in any other case — slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid
a collision.

Innovation 7:21 am 16 Dec 12

Ahh yes, I know, but you would be surprised how many drivers don’t understand. I haven’t been there for quite a while but drivers behind the vehicle at the give way line would regularly get annoyed if they tried to give way to a stopped vehicle opposite.

And what if the opposing car hasn’t yet stopped and the other car is already at or near the give way sign? It seems that right of way there is all about timing, which is quite subjective. Right of way on a roundabout, which I agree with you, is much clearer – although probably still quite hard to prove in an accident.

You would be surprised how

JC 5:27 am 16 Dec 12

Innovation said :

When you figure that one out you can tell me how these sorts of intersections work (eg Southbound car turning right at give way lines and Northbound car stopped or yet to stop at Stop sign).

Stop and give way signs have equal priority, the only difference is with a stop sign you must come to a complete stop before giving way. So really the car turning right even though they have a giveway sign must give way to the car at the stop sign.

Of course the confusion comes about because you could well argue that because the car coming up to the stop sign has to stop the car turning right could well be able to make their turn without taking the other cars right of way. But as innovation said sometimes being right can lead to accidents, and the give way at the roundabout laws are a perfect example.

screaming banshee 11:17 pm 15 Dec 12

Strictly speaking if a car pulls up to a t intersection with a stop sign, stops and then proceeds to enter the road from your right as you approach them (and the intersection) then it is you that should give way.

Same thing goes for roundabouts, those entering must give way to any vehicles on the roundabout, so just because your screaming along and planing on straight through the roundabout, you would still have to give way to a car entering the roundabout from your left if they have entered the roundabout before you.

It comes down to fundamental right of way rules for the intersection…having said that there is no point being in the right if you are dead, injured, or total your car when you could have just waited.

Now for the OP, if I was approaching from the south at the same time as someone from the north I would yield….from your distance how could you tell how far away he was from his give way sign and how do you know from his vantage point that he could tell you had completed your stop manoeuvre and were proceeding forward.

As for his response…totally appropriate. Chucking a raging fit behind the wheel would have been childish on his part but I too would shake my head under the same circumstances if someone did that and then gave me what I call the ‘I’m a farkwit’ wave as the went past.

Innovation 6:21 pm 15 Dec 12

When you figure that one out you can tell me how these sorts of intersections work (eg Southbound car turning right at give way lines and Northbound car stopped or yet to stop at Stop sign).

trevar 5:40 pm 15 Dec 12

From memory (and it’s been a few months), you can’t see the road immediately on the other side of the bridge from the stop sign on the south side, right? And if this recollection is correct, regardless of what the rules say, a certain amount of judgement is required to determine if it is safe to cross, and a certain amount of tolerance is required if someone misjudges.

If I saw a car approaching south-bound, even if they were some distance from the bridge, I’d wait, but I expect I would be likely to misjudge how long it would take me to cross and how long it would take the other vehicle to arrive at the bridge, so the driver you describe just sounds intolerant to me.

Failing the good judgement and gracious tolerance test, my interpretation of the Give Way sign there is that south bound traffic should give way to traffic already on the bridge. So unless he began to cross prior to the moment when you began to cross, you had the right of way anyway.

arescarti42 5:32 pm 15 Dec 12

The way I see it, both signs require you to give right of way to vehicles that are already on the bridge, the stop sign merely requires you to come to a standstill first.

Having completed your stopping manoeuvre, and conditional on there not being any other traffic on the bridge, you would have had right of way.

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