We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

The wacky and wonderful on our roads

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 8th 2019

A reader questions why some drivers would stop at the entry to a roundabout when there is no oncoming traffic. Such an action is an invitations to a rear-end collision, Steve Wallace writes.


Every so often, one witnesses the wackiest of commuter behaviour.
Just when you think there are a very few redeeming qualities among drivers and cyclists, you’re surprised by the behaviour of others.

As I drove on a four-lane popular road (two lanes in each direction), I was ambushed by a wacky cyclist approaching me on the passenger side of the vehicle, in some sort of suicidal attempt to get from A to B.
The bike rider was going the wrong way on a street reserved for traffic going the other direction.
There was a definite attempt to avoid having to wait for a red traffic light to turn solid green on the street traversing this four-lane road.

Instead of waiting for the light to change, the cyclist made an immediate left and fought oncoming vehicular traffic for most of the block before returning to the proper side of the road.
The wonderful Victoria Cycling Adventures Club is a good example of individual volunteers who go on various rides, encouraging beginners and novice riders to join in the fun.
Janet, the president, invites any and all wishing to become involved.

There are similar groups throughout communities on the Island — and indeed, in other parts of our province.
It is unfortunate that the wacky get more attention than the wonderful.
Martyn wants to know why people stop before entering a roundabout when there are no vehicles in the circle.

This action is a trigger for a rear-end collision.
When the entering driver stops, the driver behind is likely looking left for anyone in the roundabout.
This momentary glance to the left is enough to cause a hit from behind.
The police will be forced to charge the following driver, as opposed to punishing the driver who made an unnecessary stop.

That is the way the Traffic Act is enforced.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the driver ahead bore at least some of the blame for such a crash?
After all, a roundabout is meant to keep traffic moving.
A recent crash involving a motorist hitting the open door of a police cruiser stopped at the side of the road as the officer issued a traffic ticket can only be described as wacky.

It would be wonderful if every driver obeyed the law requiring all traffic to leave a complete lane free beside enforcement vehicles parked at the side of the road on multi-lane routes.
Slowing on single-direction roads when a police car is engaged is necessary.
How do you not see a police car with emergency lights flashing at the side of the road?

Perhaps the wackiest thing I have observed is a person driving past the police with a seatbelt dangling from the underside of the driver door.
To make matters worse, it was clicking on the pavement with enough belt length visible to squeeze two people in the driver’s seat.
When the driver was stopped, there was a clear look of wonderment on the driver’s face, accompanied by a failed attempt to repeatedly yank the seemingly shortened seatbelt into place.

The wackiest situation witnessed in downtown Victoria was the cyclist riding on the sidewalk screaming at the skateboard rider to get off the same sidewalk.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if mobility scooters and pedestrians stayed on the sidewalk, and bikes, roller-blades and skaters stayed on the road?

Despite the wacky behaviour of others, drivers included, it is important to aspire to be wonderful.



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