Streetcars have been running in Oklahoma City since early December, and drivers are still learning how to share the road with them. With new lanes on the road, drivers are unsure what path they are supposed to travel in, and what the rules of the road are regarding streetcars. It is important all drivers familiarize themselves with the basics of streetcar law so that all vehicles can share the road in the safest manner possible.
All drivers should know that the streetcars travel along a designated path fitted with tracks. They cannot move from this path and so, they cannot move or react to certain mistakes made by other drivers. For this reason, drivers should never park on the streetcar tracks, and they should always look for oncoming streetcars while opening parked car doors. When parking, it is also important the entire vehicle is within the marked lines of a parking space. This can prevent the vehicle from becoming damaged from a passing streetcar.
Turn lanes have also confused drivers ever since streetcars have hit the roads in the city. Drivers can still use turn lanes, but they cannot use those that have painted hashtags. One of these turn lanes, the one located behind Bricktown Ballpark, has already been causing problems in the city. City officials are trying to educate drivers on these laws, saying they should be treated as painted medians.
Streetcars have more than special lanes, though. They also have their own traffic signals that are not applicable to other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians. It is essential that anyone on the road know which signals they need to follow, and which are intended for streetcar use only.
In addition to these rules, drivers should never try to pass or overtake a streetcar, even when it is not moving. Finally, all drivers need to give streetcars plenty of space, as they typically travel below posted speed limits and make frequent stops.
“The streetcars have provided a fun way to get around the Bricktown and Downtown Loops,” says T. David Hasbrook of Hasbrook & Hasbrook. “Hopefully drivers will learn how to safely share the road with the large vehicles so we do not see an increase in accidents, and the injuries that often result from them.”