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Podcast

Episode 76 • On the Road

76

Intersection

Bike lane

Roundabout

Crosswalk

Jaywalking

Story

[Police sirens]
Policeman: Alright, alright. Calm down. Can someone explain to me what happened?
Woman: So, I was coming from-
Man: Of course! What happened is that-
Policeman: One at a time, please! You first, ma’m.
Woman: Thank you. So I was walking home, I got to this intersection, I checked and I could see there were no cars coming and I started crossing the street, when all of a sudden, this crazy young boy appeared on his stupid little bike and nearly hit me!
Policeman: Where did this happen?
Woman: Right here.
Policeman: Uh… Sir, were you using the bike lane?
Man: No! I was on the road and-
Policeman: Why were you not using the bike lane?
Man: I was about to enter the roundabout and it was faster for me to do it from this side.
Policeman: Ah! Faster. But not safer!
Man: What? That’s not the point! Because what this lady didn’t mention is that she did not cross at the crosswalk.
Policeman: Is this true?
Woman: Yes, but, there were no cars coming, so I-
Policeman: Ma’m, that is jaywalking.
Woman: But- but-…
Policeman: I’m sorry, but it looks you’re both going to have to pay a fine.
Woman: What?!
Man: Oh, come on!

Questions

It looks like neither of them got what they wanted. Let's listen to today's questions and learn a few expressions.

Intersection

'So I was walking home, I got to this intersection...'

• How many roads need to cross to create an intersection?

It can be either two or more roads. If these roads or if these streets cross each other, then you create an intersection. The intersection is the place where these streets cross.

• What happens at an intersection? All cars move at once or do they take turns?

All cars move at once or do they take turns? No, thank goodness. They take turns, because otherwise there would be a lot of accidents. When you get to an intersection, you need to stop most of the times and you just wait for the car that was there first to cross and get to the other side, and then you can enter the intersection.

• Are all intersections controlled by traffic lights or not?

No, not necessarily. For example, in smaller neighborhoods, usually, intersections are not controlled by traffic lights, whereas in bigger areas, like maybe downtown, or something like that, usually you need traffic lights to control intersections because there are a lot more cars.

• Are the intersections in your neighborhood controlled by traffic lights or not?

In the neighborhood where I'm living in at the moment, yes, there are a lot of traffic lights in all the intersections that we have around here, which is a lot, because there's a lot of streets crossing each other. They are, I think, all of them, marked and controlled by a traffic light because there's a lot of traffic in this area. I'm not in the center, but I'm also in an area where there's a lot of traffic. There's a lot of cars.

Bike lane

'Sir, were you using the bike lane?'

• What vehicles are allowed to use bike lanes?

Believe it or not, it's bikes. Now, I'm not sure if it's only bikes because lately, especially here in Valencia, I've seen a lot of scooters, like the electric scooters that people ride nowadays, and I've seen a lot of those. I've also seen people skating. I don't know, I think it's only for bikes, but I think, obviously, if you're a pedestrian, if you're walking, you can't use a bike lane, if you're a car, or a scooter, or a motorbike, you can't use a bike lane, but I'm not sure about the other ones.

• Are there a lot of bike lanes in your city/town?

Yes. Here in Valencia, you can get to pretty much any place you want by using a bike lane because they're everywhere and they're super well-connected. For example, if I want to get to the beach, which is, by bike, is like 10 to 15 minutes away, then I can just hop on my bike, get on a bike lane, and it brings me straight to the beach. It's really nice because it's really safe for people who ride their bike everywhere.

Roundabout

'I was about to enter the roundabout and it was faster for me to do it from this side.'

• What shape is a roundabout?

A roundabout is round. It's shaped like a circle.

• How many roads join together in a roundabout?

Usually, a roundabout is made in a way that would allow, I want to say three, at least three, roads to join together. You got maybe three or even more roads coming from different sides that all join together in the circle in the roundabout.​

• What do you need to do before entering a roundabout? Do you need to slow down or speed up?

You definitely have to slow down. You got to check and make sure that there are no cars in the roundabout. Then, if you can see that there are no cars, you can enter it. Otherwise, you got to wait for your turn. I know sometimes it's horrible because you get stuck, you want to enter the roundabout, but you can't because you see a car coming, and then another car coming, and you're just stuck there and you're like, "Should I go? Should I not go? Should I wait? Am I going to have an accident?" I've been there. I'm not a great driver, I've said that before.

• Are there a lot of roundabouts in your neighborhood?

No. There are a lot of intersections, but not a lot of roundabouts. In the neighborhood where I used to live in Milan, yes. It's like a roundabout, and then 200 meters later, roundabout. It's crazy. In the area where I live in now, nope, no roundabouts, pretty much, I think.

XXX

Crosswalk

'... what this lady didn’t mention is that she did not cross at the crosswalk.'

• Who are crosswalks for? Pedestrians or cars?

Crosswalks are made for crossing and they are for pedestrians only.

• What are crosswalks marked with? White lines or white circles?

That'd be fun, but no, it's white lines. You know the white lines that you see on the road where you are allowed to cross? That is called a crosswalk.

• Do cars in your town slow down and stop at crosswalks or not?

Do cars in your town slow down and stop at crosswalks or not? I'm talking if there is no traffic light, because, obviously, if there is a traffic light then, yes, they have to stop. I think here in Spain they do stop if I am at a crosswalk and they see me. I think they do that a little more often. In Milan, you just got to step into the road, because, otherwise, no car is going to stop. I think people are always in a rush and, I don't know, they're not very patient and they are sometimes kind of rude. This one time when I was in Thailand and I was still getting used to crossing the street in Thailand, and a lot of times there you got, even if you have a crosswalk, cars are still going to go. I swear to you guys, I think I was one inch close to getting hit by this car because it did not stop at the crosswalk. I was just thinking with my mentality and I just thought, "Okay, if there's a crosswalk, I can go ahead and cross," but this car did not think the same, and I'm lucky to be alive, to be honest with you.

Jaywalking

'Ma’am, that is jaywalking.'

• Who can be accused of jaywalking? A driver or a pedestrian?

Jaywalking is something committed by pedestrians, so by people that are walking.

• Does jaywalking mean crossing the street where you are supposed to or where you are not supposed to?

Jaywalking means crossing the street where you are not supposed to. For example, if you have a crosswalk but you cross 200 meters before that, that is considered jaywalking because you're not crossing the street where you are supposed to.

• Why is jaywalking dangerous?

Obviously, it's dangerous for us and it's dangerous for the drivers that are driving at the moment because they might not be expecting to see someone cross the road in that particular place because they expect them to be crossing maybe a little bit later. That can cause accidents. You could get hit if they don't stop in time, or they could try and avoid you, which means they could get into an accident with another car. Jaywalking, it can be dangerous.

• Is jaywalking illegal in your town?

I'm pretty sure that jaywalking is illegal in- I think, everywhere. The rules are there for a reason. I've never heard of someone that got a ticket for it, that got a fine because of that. Actually, I do it. I do it pretty often. Obviously, I try to make sure that there's no cars around. I always double-check. I always do it when I'm super, super safe. Yes, sometimes I got to be honest and tell you that, yes, I do do it

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