It is interesting to read today that a person is challenging the fine they got for driving in a bus lane: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10595321
The $150 question of how far motorists can drive in a bus lane before making a turn goes to the Auckland District Court next week. Motorist John Foote says the law states it is the minimum distance necessary to safely make the manoeuvre. The Auckland City Council says 48m is a safe distance for a motor vehicle travelling at 50km/h. The council fines motorists $150 for travelling more than 50m in a bus lane. Mr Foote said this policy had resulted in the law being applied unlawfully and has sought a ruling.
Being a bit of a maths and science geek I decided to work out what is the minimum distance a car can stop in when traveling 50kmh. It turns out it is 24m if the car is in good shape, the road is dry, and the driver is fully aware (Stopping distances for cars – Road Safety Authority Rules of the Road) so say for instance it is a wet day this can affect things by a factor of two hence 2*24m = 48m. And this is the value that the Auckland City Council has set.
The major problem that I have with this is it is best case scenario maths. No consideration has been given to cars already stopped to turn within that 48m area, or the amount of distance required to change into the lane, or the fact that many cars travel faster than 50kmh, it may be the limit and the law but that does not mean people actually obey it. In the interests of safety it would be better to set it at a minimum of 65m which is the minimum distance at 60kmh on a wet day to stop.
None of this takes into account just how hard it is to judge precise distance when traveling at 50kmh or 13.8m/s while driving.
I hope the appeal succeeds, it is simply not safe with the number of factors involved to limit it at 48m. 100m would be a much more sensible solution.