Traffic police now on Telegram

About how the autumn changes in the rules of traffic flow 'highlight' the heterogeneity of society

Traffic police now on Telegram
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Three news items have appeared concerning road users — drivers, cyclists and scooters — this week. Realnoe Vremya columnist, musician and tour guide Radif Kashapov discusses why each of these innovations has become an occasion for fierce disputes between different groups of society.

Write to the bot, hope for the candidate

The first news came from social networks with the clickbait headline “The traffic police has opened Telegram channels for snitches”. Through the messenger, having found the channel of their district there, allegedly citizens can send information about drunk drivers to a speculative “comrade major”. The source is guaranteed anonymity. It is also indicated that this year there have been 26 accidents caused by drunk drivers who refused to undergo a medical examination.

At the same time, one of the cycling communities of the city offered to send letters to candidates for deputies — to offer support to cyclists (the figure is 500,000 bicycle activists throughout Russia) in exchange for the following points:

  • mandatory separate paths when designing new roads and in reconstruction projects of existing ones;
  • equipment of places for fixing a bicycle in public urban and intercity transport;
  • equipment of courtyards of apartment buildings with covered parking lots.

Of course, this innovative idea was immediately criticised, and right there, in the native community. Firstly, half a million is quite a bit in the total mass of the electorate. There are 70 times more motorists, and the appearance of bike paths will lead to a reduction in the width of the roadway, which means that it will cause their sharp dissatisfaction.

The city and kicksharing companies had a conflict regarding parking lots: the city offered them as part of the auction, businessmen noted that they need ten times more. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Finally, the third active group of the “road society” is scooterers. The Ministry of Transport of Russia has published amendments to the traffic regulations concerning this trend transport. According to them, scooters will be allowed to ride on sidewalks, bike paths and the roadway at a speed of no more than 25 km/h. At the same time, devices that weigh more than 35 kg cannot be located on the sidewalk. They are left only on the right side of the roadway, but only if there are brakes, a sound signal, reflectors and lights.

The city and kicksharing companies had a conflict regarding parking lots: the city offered them as part of the auction, businessmen noted that they need ten times more. There is no point about this in the edits. In the Kazan rules of kicksharing, the speed on the sidewalk is limited to a reasonable ten kilometres.

Three pieces of news, and in each there are absolutely two dissatisfied parties.

  • What does it mean that anyone can complain about me, and then an inspection officer will stop me, just because someone thought that I was drunk? What is it — you can't complain about drunk people?
  • What is it — there are already hundreds of thousands of us, there is nowhere to go from bike couriers, and we must carefully declare ourselves, because there are more people on four wheels? What is it — aren't there too many political games with these bicycles, before every election promises begin?
  • What is it — I want to ride a scooter, give me a separate road or look after your children so that they do not go under the wheels? What is it — they buy new amusements for themselves, and then drive them along the sidewalks?
What should I do to somehow resolve the situation? It remains only to think about other participants in the process. Photo: Maksim Platonov

On the other side of the curb

How to resolve the age-old dispute between drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and recently joined scooterers? In no way. Because everyone represents the point of view of a certain group, and speaks from this point of view. Personal transport — it's about personal space, after all. Their ideology is following: here is my vehicle, I want to be comfortable in it. For me, not the others.

What should I do to somehow resolve the situation? It remains only to think about other participants in the process. If you ride a bike — you take care of pedestrians and motorists. You drive a car — you follow pedestrians and cyclists. You get a scooter — you consider it your duty not to accelerate faster than an easy run.

Walking? You think about those who move in wheelchairs or carry a child. Somehow it so happened that Kazan is an uncomfortable city for absolutely all participants of the movement. Every appearance is a chain of decisions, detours, overtaking and stress.

But if the Voznesensky Tract is being built for motorists and the duplicates of existing highways are planned, then for cyclists all plans for new paths remain plans, and leaving the yard with a wheelchair is comparable to a cross-country march.

If the Voznesensky Tract is being built for motorists, then all plans for new paths remain plans for cyclists. Photo: Maksim Platonov

And, by the way, not only Kazan suffers from this. In Almetyevsk, where there are enough bike paths, I ventured to get on a scooter and found that I have a serious chance to fall literally on every curb. To say nothing about the pits and endless roadworks...

The bad thing is that each group continues to talk about such problems individually. This is how these initiatives happen: we will squeeze some people so that others feel comfortable. But none of the participants in the movement is a character with one “role”. One day, a motorist will stand in front of the crossing with a child in a wheelchair-cane and completely without any ideas about how to get to the park, densely surrounded by freeways, now. If we talk, for example, about the “non-road” communities of the city — cultural, parental, entrepreneurial, any — they have long understood that it is necessary to work together.

Is it possible to imagine such a thing on the road? I hope that most of us will one day find ourselves on the territory of negotiations and begin to decide how to make it comfortable and safe for everyone. And we will sacrifice our own interests for the sake of others. Because there is no other way, it will simply not work out without compromises.

Radif Kashapov
Analytics Tatarstan