We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

The weird and wonderful on our roads

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, July 27th 2018

No helmet? Checking his phone? Not looking where he’s going, with only one hand on the handlebars? Some cyclists ride as if they are immortal, Steve Wallace writes.


It truly is the Wild West out there on the roads this time of year.
The good weather not only brings out the free spirit in many, but also results in some weird and wonderful behaviour by the travelling public.

Last week, I saw a vehicle driver with Nevada license plates make a U-Turn at a regular solid-green traffic-light intersection.

It was even more wild to see the vehicle with B.C. plates follow suit. This is not a legal move in B.C.
Las Vegas intersections are very large and there is plenty of room to do such a manoeuvre.
Maybe we should contemplate the same legislation here.
Where there is room to accommodate such a turn, should we not at least give it a try at some of our multilane wide intersections?

The Wild West mentality is not just confined to motor-vehicle drivers.
Bike riders abound without helmets, mirrors, lights or reflective clothing.
They seem to appear as a late-morning and afternoon phenomenon.

After all the relatively well-equipped and safe lawabiding bike commuters have travelled to work, there seems to be a group of Wild West, anything goes, death-wish riders hitting the road.
Texting and talking on the phone are commonplace. No hands on the handlebars — another wild way to ride.

The same goes for skateboard riders and rollerbladers.

You would think they should at least have kneepads.
The weird modes of transportation are also very noticeable.
They have one thing in common: They are all unlicensed.
The use of motorized bikes is a great way to attack steep hills.
Pedalling on relatively flat surfaces does the trick.

What is a car driver to think, when being passed at city speed, by a big fat-tired motorized-bike rider?

Segway travel is still a relative novelty.
Should they be on the road or sidewalk?
Maybe the law has a different regulation for a single or dual model.
It sure would be nice to know.

It still seems weird to be passed in a car by one of them.
A motorized skateboarder took quite a dramatic tumble on a city street a few weeks ago.
I witnessed the crash and the result.

The rider was a little bloodied by the experience.
The board was non-functional after the crash.
Mobility scooters are a great way of getting around for those who have a physical handicap.
Is it legal to add significant aftermarket power to them?

This thought occurred to me as I was being passed by one of them in a bike lane.
I guess it was too fast for the sidewalk.
It reminded me of the news story last year about the drunk driver apprehended riding atop a lawn mower.
Despite the wild and weird, there is still an abundance of wonderful behaviour on our roads.

Zipper merging is much more prevalent now than in the past.
Drivers are catching on to the late-alternating merge at the source of the bottleneck.
Hand signals personalize a driver’s intent and are much more likely to get a positive response from all other travellers.

This action is particularly effective when trying to enter the traffic flow from the curb or while doing a slow-speed lane change.

This is often followed by a friendly thank-you wave, acknowledging the courtesy of the yielding driver.

More drivers are lighting up.

By having the headlights and taillights turned on, the other traffic is much more likely to notice oncoming traffic and traffic being followed as closer than the actual distance of separation.

Traffic engineers are making an honest attempt to keep our traffic moving with synchronized traffic lights, traffic circles, roundabouts and neighbourhood diverters.

Wonderful indeed!





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