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We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Keep watch on your fellow travellers

March 9, 2018

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 9th 2018

A skateboarder uses the skateboard/cycle lane on Pandora Avenue in Victoria. It is easy for skateboarders to slip into the blind spots of the average driver, Steve Wallace writes.

 

Most bike riders are well prepared for travel over the winter months.
They have the proper clothing and ancillary equipment, including mirrors, bright reflective clothing, and front and back lights.
The problem, as of late, are riders who hit the road when the weather gets better and more conducive for two-wheel travel.

Here they come — helmet-less, with none of the safety equipment necessary to take part in an ever increasingly dangerous and complex traffic system.
(Now before anyone claims a helmet is not necessary for safety, think about this: It is the law. Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts when travelling in a motor vehicle. You must wear your helmet).

Bike riders often ride at night without a light or any other safety equipment.
It is long past time for enforcement equality to extend to not only cyclists, but also other modes of transportation.
Any driver travelling with a seatbelt dangling out the window or no headlights at night would be pulled over by the police.
It should be the same for cyclists, especially since they are so much more likely to sustain considerably greater injury in a crash.

Mobility scooters are supposed to be restricted to the sidewalk, or at least to the side of the road where no sidewalk exists. Drivers stay off the sidewalk.
Scooters should stay off the road wherever possible.
This includes riding opposite to traffic flow on the shoulder of the road.
Scooter riders should do the expected and drivers should be as accommodating as possible to those much less ambulatory than the rest of us.

It is about time we all gave scooters and the people who use them the same respect and space we give people in wheelchairs.
The most misunderstood transportation choices are skateboards and rollerblades.
They both belong on the road, not the sidewalk.
One cannot avoid admiring not only their sheer bravery, but also the great physical balance necessary to be competent on both.
Skateboarders announce their presence by the sound they make when travelling everywhere they go, while skaters are relatively silent.

Both should wear protective gear.
It is so easy for them to slip into the blind spots of the average driver, let alone the bigger transport trucks.

The rules pertaining to Segway travel are much less obvious.

Would someone, preferably a reader of this column, who has one of these, please let us all know what the rules are for this mode of travel?
There is one more situation worth mentioning. Small electric motor cycles with pedals and very limited power may be ridden by those without a driver’s licence.
It seems to be the preferred choice of those convicted of drunk-driving, as are many of the above-mentioned devices.
These suspended drivers are believed to be partial to motorized cycles as a way of getting around, sober or otherwise.
This loophole can be plugged by conditions stated by judges at sentencing.

Drivers of motor vehicles must be very careful when encountering others mentioned above.
A shoulder check prior to any lateral move is mandatory if dangerous situations and conflicts are to be avoided.

When these conflicts lead to collisions, it is far more likely for the motor-vehicle driver to be deemed at fault.

After all, the others seldom carry insurance.

 

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