We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers weigh in on rules of the road

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, October 21 2016

As mentioned in a previous column, motor-vehicle drivers should move close to the curb when making a right turn, in order to protect bike riders from getting trapped in the driver’s blind spot.

This should only be done when the bike lane delineation lines are white dashed, not solid.

Drivers are permitted to cross the solid line only to park, not proceed.

Bike riders have the right-of-way to drive straight or turn when in a blind spot of a vehicle.

All drivers must do a shoulder check before turning right, left and every lateral driving action.

There seem to be no rules concerning side-by-side bike riding in a bike lane wide enough to accommodate this behaviour.

If such a rule exists, please reference it in an email to me.

Several readers of this column have divergent opinions concerning this apparent absence of regulation, as it pertains to bike lanes only, not mandatory single-file rules on regular roads.

Barry rides an air-cooled motorcycle and wants to be legally allowed to use the shoulder of the road to proceed at a low speed, perhaps 10 kilometres per hour, to prevent his bike from overheating in gridlock traffic. (This is not a problem for water-cooled bike riders.)

The designation of “professional driver” is a hot topic for column readers.

Many believe there has been a decline in big-rig professional truck driver skill and safety over the past decade.

They give reasons such as the preponderance of easy-to-drive automatic transmission transports.
In fact, the demand for Class 1 drivers has far exceeded the supply.

There is a great fear that the baby-boom generation of professional drivers is nearing retirement and there are not enough skilled truckers being trained to replace them.

Some truckers responded to this criticism by referencing erratic behaviour of smaller vehicle drivers.

Why do they follow so closely, as to not be seen in the side view mirrors of truckers?

Why do they pass only to quickly slow for an upcoming right turn?

Why do they insist on travelling in a trucker’s blind spot, particularly when a truck driver must move left to make a proper right turn?

Bruce wanted to know if the stay-right-except-to-pass law is applicable to all multi-lane roads.

The rule only applies when signs are posted to indicate it is the law on highways only.

Bob is a retired police officer who believes it is a good idea to put a sign designating the end of a school zone, on the same side of the street as the sign which initiates it begins.

I agree!

Dianne could not believe it was legal for a driver to back up without wearing a seatbelt.

She thought there had to be a typo or a misprint in the last column. It is legal, but not necessarily advisable unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Jack wanted to remind drivers that bike racks are not permitted to obscure the licence plate.

He also wants parents to stop towing children behind their bikes in what can only be called a low riding mini-tent trailer.

Kids are much safer in front of parents on their bikes.

Mel, from Comox, wants all drivers to use the “Dutch reach” to open their driver door, when parked at the right side of the road.

This technique is simply using the right hand, the furthest hand to open the car door.

This forces the vehicle driver to do a natural backward turn toward any approaching bike traffic. It makes it easy to look for cyclists. Bike riders will certainly appreciate the intent.



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