This was sent into us by Professor Peter Simons from the Philosophy Department in Trinity College Dublin. His observations of street life in Dublin are very entertaining and meant to be taken as light amusement.
131: the number after 12 in the Irish car registration year number series. The reasoning appears to be that superstitious people will not buy vehicles whose registrations begin with ‘13’.
AA Roadwatch: traffic information service including radio slots beloved of listeners for two reasons (1) they like recognizing the names of the places they know; (2) they experience profound Schadenfreude from hearing that motorists in other parts of the country are suffering delays.
As Seirbhís: most popular destination of Dublin buses. (A bit harsh in our view)
balance: sensory system enabling serious cyclists to remain upright on a stationary bicycle for at least two seconds longer than sensible.
bicycle: small and efficient two-wheeled leg-powered vehicle designed to increase stress, reduce life expectancy and annoy motorists.
buggy: hand-propelled SUV for transporting infants and shopping on pavements.
bus driver: patient and long-suffering person who can understand “O’Connell Street” in over one hundred foreign accents but is unable to give change in any. Skilled at firmly applying brakes when standing passengers are least expecting it. (Again maybe a bit harsh)
Bus Éireann: national bus company running white single-decker coaches on longdistance routes. The company logo is an Irish setter: this is to remind other road users of the kind of route these animals pursue in an open field.
bus lane: leftmost lane on many routes designed for the use of buses, and therefore shared by taxis, cyclists and others.
bus (route) number: quantum number governing the trajectory of buses. Buses with the same bus route number go around in large groups.
Canal Way Cycle Route: scenic cycle-only route following the Grand Canal in South Dublin and conveniently at right angles to most cycle commuting routes. Safer for cyclists than busy ordinary roads (cycle commuting routes), which it crosses in only nine places.
clamping: part of the punishment system for drivers who incorrectly park their vehicles and cause an obstruction, this procedure prevents the vehicle from being driven away, so prolonging the obstruction.
cycle lane: intermittent stretch of the gutter reserved for cyclists, also pedestrians, buses, taxis, and SUVs. Generally abundant on wide and safe stretches of road, disappearing at narrow and dangerous sections.
cycle park: facility for securing cycles, generally at a good safe distance from where cyclists want to park.
cyclist: person of iron nerve, lightning reactions and a foolhardy attitude to risktaking, dedicated to getting from A to B on a bicycle as fast as possible, generally with scant regard to traffic regulations.
Donnybrook: altercation between road users in South Dublin.
Dublin bus: large double-decker blue and yellow public passenger vehicle running to stochastic timetable. The largest known type of boson (see bus route number).
eejit: other road user.
fare increase: regular Monday morning event on Dublin buses.
feckin eejit: (1) other road user who does something that annoys you; (2) yourself for venturing out onto Dublin streets.
Garda: person in uniform who stops you for doing 56 km/h while letting the other guy who’s doing 80 drive past unhindered.
glass: What the streets of Dublin are paved in, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
green arrow: traffic filter signal indicating a route blocked by a motorist in the wrong lane.
gutter: leftmost section of road, adjacent to the pavement. Lower than the rest, containing large numbers of sunken drain covers, potholes and road patches. Therefore deemed suitable for cycle lanes. Where cyclists mainly land.
hi-vis (high visibility): reflective outer clothing layer, usually yellow, conferring authority on gardaí, immunity on road workers, and invisibility on cyclists.
horn: motor vehicles’ audible means of warning of approach, used exclusively to vent anger, frustration etc. at other road users.
lane discipline: “What’s that?” (cyclist)
lateral clearance: distance from the nearside of a vehicle to nearest obstacle, parked vehicle, kerb etc. For SUVs in narrow streets not less than half the vehicle width.
Luas: tram system sharing the road with other users and providing special metal grooves for catching cycle wheels. Silent, but gong gives pedestrians and cyclists a sporting chance.
motorcyclist (biker): cheating cyclist.
no right turn: default road sign at Dublin junctions.
oh!: sound a pedestrian makes just after failing to notice an approaching car, bus, cyclist, other pedestrian, lamp post etc.
other cyclist: annoying road user. They come in two sorts: (1) too fast – who overtake you in dangerous places when you are least expecting it and make you feel old and feeble; (2) too slow – who clog up the road and force you to overtake them in dangerous places.
parking space: marked area of road or parking facility, designated for vehicle parking, that is small enough for a vehicle to occupy two spaces when parked obliquely and for an SUV to overhang on all sides even when parked straight.
pavement: unofficial cycle lane, generally annoyingly cluttered with trees, signs, pedestrians, buggies, dogs etc.
pedestrian: person on foot with poor perception of their surroundings, usually talking on a mobile phone and/or listening to music through headphones. Eyes set close together at the front of the head enable accurate estimation of distance to smartphone screens but limit vision to the side, which is where vehicles come from when pedestrians step out into the road.
pedestrian controlled crossing: pedestrian crossing with a button fooling pedestrians into thinking they can control it. Pressing the button automatically resets the wait to three minutes.
pothole: standard feature of Dublin streets, provided free of charge by City Council.
puddle: pool of water found in the gutter during rainy weather and designed to disguise potholes as well as provide spray ammunition for motor vehicles.
quays: roadracing circuit adjacent to the River Liffey.
red light: traffic regulating signal ignored for the first few seconds by motorists and at all times by cyclists.
red man: default signal at pedestrian crossings, irrespective of traffic conditions. Can in theory be changed to green by Constitutional Amendment. Respected by German tourists.
road patch: section of tarmac replacing road formerly missing due to roadworks or potholes, made higher than the surrounding road to compensate for earlier depression and ensure a good average.
runner: fast pedestrian with earpods and even less awareness of their surroundings than usual; prone to setting out obliquely and precipitously into the road.
rush hour: time of day when average traffic speed is the lowest.
scooter: (1) unstable motorcycle with small wheels, floor and fairing; (2) small selfpropelled vehicle for children, designed to block pavements.
serious cyclist: fashion victim wearing patterned Lycra at weekends and bare calves during the week. Allergic to mudguards. Red–green colour-blind.
ramp (hump, speed bump): crumbling short elevated section of road designed to be taken at speed.
SUV (4×4, 4WD): large vehicle designed for deserts and other trackless terrains and therefore abundant in South Dublin, often carrying as many as one small passenger. Elevated driving position allows the driver to accurately place the front of the vehicle across a cycle lane when waiting to turn out of a side street.
taxi: ubiquitous passenger hire vehicle, dedicated to sharing bus lanes and parking in cycle lanes. Taxis come in two varieties: (1) D-reg., know the streets and the regulations; (2) other reg., don’t. It is estimated that Dublin has more taxis than people.
tourist: pedestrian walking slowly, taking photos and looking the wrong way. (NB: if Italian, walking even more slowly, talking loudly, and wearing winter clothing).
towing: a more rational part of the punishment system for incorrect parking, in this case the vehicle is removed to another, non-obstructive place. The downside is the greater incidence of cardiovascular accidents among drivers discovering their vehicles gone. Part of the price of Falschparken, perhaps? It’s still better than the famous Lithuanian punishment, which is to drive a tank over your Mercedes.
virtual green: red traffic light (to a cyclist).
virtual pedestrian: person cycling on pavement or zebra crossing. Since at any moment a cyclist can dismount and become a pedestrian pushing a bicycle, they can walk across a zebra crossing or on the pavement; so to save time for everyone such a person carries on cycling but treats him/herself as if s/he were a pedestrian. Simple.
virtual stop: widely practised manoeuvre (especially among cyclists) of proceeding
slowly through a red light or stop sign (known in the US as the Californian rolling stop).
walking pace: double the rush hour traffic speed (except for tourists).
weaving: (1) motion of cyclists in rush hour traffic; (2) textile pastime of motorists in rush hour traffic.
yellow (amber) light: traffic regulating signal indicating that it is safe to speed over a junction.
yellow box: road marking at junctions helpfully indicating the most effective place to stop and block the junction.