We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers share thoughts on bike lanes, high-crash sites


A cyclist passes the Customs House construction site while using the new bike lane on Wharf Street. Federal capital funds allocated to such projects have little effect on local government budgets, Steve Wallace writes. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST


Readers need answers. Here are the replies.
Robin wants to know why the bike lanes are going ahead despite the looming and predictable economic downturn.

Federal capital funds allocated to such projects have little effect on local government budgets and are seen by many as a financial stimulus in tough economic times. The seemingly free money is difficult to turn down when it is going to be allocated to other municipalities if not accessed by our own city and regional governments.

There is no such thing as free money. We all pay! This economic strategy has worked well in the past. Will it work in this pandemic period? Your guess is as good as mine.
Gail wants to know how a doctor can judge her fitness to drive over the phone. She is offended by the process.

This is the first I have heard of a senior being asked questions over the phone regarding the ability to control a motor vehicle. Past columns of mine, seen on these pages, have been critical of the whole process, let alone this latest wrinkle.

The simple answer to Gail’s question is that no one should determine a person’s fitness to drive without witnessing their behaviour behind the wheel, unless the physical and/or mental condition of the person obviously negates such a process.

Gail objects to the excessive fee charged for such a consultation over the phone, but neglected to mention the amount. My position on this one is simple. If the government demands the medical test, the government must pay the fee. The driving test is free to seniors. Why not the medical fee, as well?

Steve asked me if any of the top 10 crash site crashes were caused by or involved cyclists. None did! In fact, there are very few cyclist deaths each year when compared with motor-vehicle fatalities.

Susan had a theory about Wale Road making the top 10 crash sites on the Island. She says it has to do with the poor design of the intersection and the tendency of drivers to look out for themselves, as opposed to looking for cyclists. Her husband was hit at this location while riding his bike.

Drivers often forget to do a full shoulder check before turning or making a lane change. They generally look for what can hurt them, as opposed to who they themselves can hurt. This puts cyclists at risk in our traffic system.

Mark had a good point about the most dangerous intersections on the Island. He says the intersections with the most crashes are not necessarily the most dangerous. He maintains the percentage of crashes per volume of traffic is a better measure to judge relative danger at specific intersections.

Jill wants a return to traffic circles, such as at the Douglas-Gorge-Hillside-Government site. Readers are fed up with unnecessary stops and non-synchronized traffic-light intersections. There seems to be a plan to make cities safer by stopping traffic of all kinds at every juncture. There are all sorts of reasons to keep traffic moving. Less idling means a cleaner environment, fewer rear-end crashes, better mileage, and less wear on vehicle brakes and tires.

There are many people of all ages who are attempting to get an initial driving privilege. Their driving tests had been cancelled over the past several months and they have been able to re-book in a phased manner, according to the chronological cancellation dates. There have been some exceptions made for essential workers to jump the line. Hopefully, the long wait list of pending driving tests will be cleared within the next few months and we will be back to normal soon.

Steve Wallace is the owner of Joan Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former vice-president of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a University of Manitoba graduate.





© 2023 Joan Wallace Driving School. All Rights Reserved.