Let’s get this out of the way: The concrete barriers laid out along EDSA right now to demarcate the innermost lane for bus use pose a threat to motorists. No ifs, no buts—these cement slabs are dangerous. That’s because anyone could hit them (yes, even the most safety-minded drivers among us could inadvertently swerve into them). The only way these barriers become somewhat okay, as pointed out by our transport expert R. Anthony Siy, is if you drastically slow down the flow of moving traffic.
But in their current application and form, these foreign objects should have no place on a busy highway. Not only do they put drivers in constant danger, they also reduce the available road space and thus impede vehicle traffic. That’s an irrefutable fact. And because not the entire length of the thoroughfare is lined by these barriers, vehicles can still freely weave in and out of the bus lane they’re meant to secure—resulting in further motoring chaos (and the occasional accident).
Having said all this, we don’t really blame our traffic management authorities for doing this. We’re a hopeless bunch. We blatantly ignore even the simplest of road rules. Someone pointed out that if we only knew how to follow rules, there wouldn’t have been any need for those concrete barriers in the first place, and that painted lines on the pavement would have sufficed.
We live in a country where people can’t be trusted to do the right thing when no one is looking. We literally have to be herded into our designated lanes just to have some semblance of order. Without the cement barriers, we’d be crisscrossing each other like maniacs.
If you think about it, the EDSA barriers are not an indictment of our traffic management—they are an indictment of our collective behavior. These things exist because we don’t know discipline. We’re like toddlers needing to be barricaded inside a crib. Anything short of this is probably just a waste of time and resources.
Shame on us.