urban

Realistic rules over ignored rules

Rules and laws are part of our modern life, helping to keep society in order so we can all get along. I value realistic rules over ignored rules.

The yielding stop sign

Yielding stop sign in Limerick city
What do people do at this stop sign in Limerick city? They yield. Google Maps.

There is a beautiful almost-pedestrian street in Limerick city called Thomas Street. I call it almost-pedestrian, because it’s actually a road, dressed as a footpath. This area got sooo close to being a city as a footpath.

What do drivers do when they get to this stop sign? Do they stop? Indeed they don’t, and I don’t blame them. Why would you stop when there’s no-one else around you? I have never seen a driver stop at this stop sign if the road to the left was clear.

This stop sign is an unrealistic rule. It’s living in a fantasy land in a parallel universe. It may as well not be there. Or at least, it may as well be a yield sign.

Better yet, if this road literally in the heart of Limerick city centre cannot be made into a place for humans, wouldn’t it be lovely to be a shark teeth yield instead?

Another unrealistic law in Ireland is that you may not park on a footpath. That rule lives in a parallel universe. Everyone in Ireland parks half on the footpath. We could brainstorm for a realistic healthy forgiving guideline instead, such as leaving enough room for two people to walk together, and after that park to your heart’s content.

Update 2019: I’ve spotted “giant shark teeth” in use in Limerick:

Your own rules

Moving away from the topic of urban laws, what unrealistic rules do you place on yourself, only for yourself to break them and feel guilt as a result? Could you be better off with healthy, forgiving guidelines for yourself on how to deal with certain situations?