Climbing Lane; Madiba shirt

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 28 19:21:42 UTC 2004

At 7:54 PM +0100 4/28/04, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>Barry Popik (I think) said:
>>>CLIMBING LANE--On the way to the airport in Windhoek, I noticed a
>>>"CLIMBING LANE."  I was told that this is a lane for "passing."  So
>>>why don't they call it a "passing lane"?  The driver didn't know.
>One reason not to call it a 'passing lane' is that 'passing' isn't the
>normal term for this outside N America.  It's usually called 'overtaking'
>in British/SA English.  That doesn't answer the 'why climbing' question...
>I don't remember the term from my years in SA.
>If you look up 'climbing lane' with .za domains in Google, you get about a
>dozen hits.   One of them says that using a climbing lane involves speed
>reduction of 10-20 kph.  This means it can't be  a passing lane in the US
>sense, but a lane to be passed in.  There are three possibilities for what
>it is, then:
>- a lane that's added to the left of the main lane (i.e., on the
>outside--SAns drive on the left--that is, if they're following the traffic
>laws) for a short distance to alleviate traffic congestion
>- a short pull-off, as you see on single-track mountain roads
>- a hard shoulder (it's SAn driving etiquette to drive on the shoulder if
>the person behind you wants to go faster (which can be signaled by flashing
>the headlights)

Actually, I'm pretty sure that in the US use it's (always?) a lane
added on the right, hence one designed for the passee, not the
passer, in particular for trucks and other vehicles that are somewhat
upgrade-challenged.  I suppose this could be assimilated in Lynne's
taxonomy to a "hard shoulder", but I would reserve that term for an
actual shoulder, not a bona fide (if short-lived) lane.


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