We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers sound off on car/bike coexistence

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, February 22nd 2019

When cyclists and drivers come in contact on the road, cyclists invariably get the worst of the deal, Steve Wallace writes.


A column about a variety of modes of transportation resulted in a deluge of responses from readers, covering the full spectrum of opinions.

The best quote was from V.B.: “The human race has now developed to a point where they are too stupid to be aware of their surroundings.”
Her observations were directed at pedestrians, of whom she is one.
Along with a tendency to wear dark colours and be oblivious to their surroundings at night, it was the preoccupation with cellphones that really aroused her ire.

Richard thinks I should tone it down and not fuel the fires of animosity with such terms as “four-wheel jerks.”
He contends that conflicts among pedestrians, vehicles and bikes come down more to lack of courtesy than rules governing transportation choices.
Bill agrees with him and says it is all about respect.

Brent had two suggestions: Cyclists should not be allowed to pass on the right at intersections.
Furthermore, a rudimentary rules-of-the-road test should be mandatory for cyclists.
Kelly has a greater fear of cyclists than cars as he walks to work in downtown Victoria.
Jennifer loathes the fact that many pedestrians seem to hide in the shadows and cyclists refuse to light up.
Felicity suggests cyclists display and pay for a licence plate (for identification), as car drivers do.

Blake lambasted me, claiming my profession makes me favour cars.
He believes pedestrians and cyclists bear the brunt of conflicts with motor vehicles.

He is right.

They always come off worse in such collisions.
That is why drivers have a greater responsibility to watch out for less-powerful riders and less-protected pedestrians in the traffic system.
He also laments the fact that bike lanes are seldom swept or maintained, leaving cyclists to opt for road lanes instead.
Doug wonders why there are no protective technologies for cyclists.
Why not have an airbag jacket, roll-bar cage or even a mask filter for dangerous exhaust fumes?

Several people stressed the typical driver’s lack of awareness.
Some lamented the widely used term “professional” driver.
They claim the criteria for professional driver training should be much more comprehensive.

Pedestrians felt particularly vulnerable when drivers are making a right turn at a solid red light.
Drivers seem preoccupied with looking to the left and do not pay enough attention to pedestrians crossing the road with the green traffic light and white pedestrian walk light.
It would also help if drivers came to a complete stop, as opposed to a poor excuse for a slow-down move. Stop means stop, not

Slow, To Observe Police.

By far, the greatest criticism from readers was reserved for all those, regardless of transportation choice, who fail to signal directional intent.
All drivers are legally obligated to use their directional signals to enter and leave the roadway, change lanes, turn and merge.
Letting others know what you want to do is not just simple courtesy.

It’s the law.

Cyclists are not exempt from this legal responsibility.
Sadly, they are not only liable for a financial penalty but risk serious injury and worse when this sin of omission occurs.
Pedestrians are much more apt to pay the ultimate price when inattentive in the traffic mix.

Raising an arm to show intent to cross the road is a very logical thing to do.
Not many do it.
Eye-to-eye contact with threatening traffic of all sorts makes sense.
Avoiding tragedy should be our goal.





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