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Are drivers always at fault when cyclist hits door?

December 4, 2020


The fine for dooring / opening a car door in an untimely and dangerous manner in the path of a cyclist has jumped to $368 from $81. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST


Readers have been reacting to all sorts of odd and seemingly unfair transportation circumstances. Here are some examples.

Brian referenced the recent fine issued to a driver for “dooring” a cyclist. This is the only urban offense that exonerates a cyclist despite the cyclist smashing into something — namely a car door opened by an inattentive motor vehicle driver. Usually, blame is assessed by identifying the person who has hit something. Not so in this case. He was not against the $368 fine issued to the driver for the offence. This recent substantial increase from the former $81 fine amount is a good policy move. Brian, by his own account, did everything right before exiting his vehicle. He did a 360-degree check and looked back over his left shoulder before exiting his vehicle parked on the right side of the road. He missed the cyclist with no headlight, on a modified bicycle, speeding excessively. This silent ambush both surprised and shocked him. The speeding cyclist must have seen his interior light on and made some sort of evasive action. Brian believes this is the only reason he was not involved in a disastrous outcome.

Elisabeth believes every driver should use the “Dutch reach” method to open a car door from inside. The right hand is used to provide a strategic body rotation to best identify approaching traffic from behind.

It is long past time for the provincial government to regulate high-powered alternate modes of transportation in B.C.

Seniors subjected to a road test at 80 years of age are not a happy group. The thought of such an occurrence causes sleepless nights for many.

Marie has some salient observations and critical comments on the present situation confronting elderly drivers, particularly those with impeccable driving records. She helps other seniors by getting groceries and doing volunteer tasks for them. Helping drive the grandkids is also on the agenda. Senior drivers are an advantage to governments at all levels. She objects to the ridiculously assessed fee of more than $200 for a senior’s mandatory visit to the doctor. It is blatant age discrimination, and the fee adds insult to financial injury.

Having every senior report to a doctor on or about their 80th birthday, regardless of their driving record, is only done in B.C. No other jurisdiction in North America does it this way. I can only repeat my mother’s basic advice about human behaviour. Now Stephen, she would say, if everyone else is going in a certain direction to a determined destination and you are not, perhaps it is prudent to re-assess your position. The B.C. government should do the same. There are 63 political jurisdictions in North America dealing with the licensing of drivers. B.C. is the only one that has singular rules and policies for both seniors and youth. No other province or state has mandated the display of an “N” by new drivers, mostly young. The only thing certain in these above circumstances is that policymakers in B.C. never met my mother, let alone took her advice.

Dorothy was looking for a jacket that would provide a reflection to warn vehicular traffic of her presence. She wants to be easily identified but is at a loss to find the proper apparel. Any suggestions?
There are a few international driving behaviours that Canadians are loath to adopt. Chris likes to thank other drivers who accommodate his lane entry with a four-way-flasher single cycle. It rewards courteous driving behaviour. He first noticed this form of thanks in South Africa and Europe. Will it ever catch on in Canada? Let us hope so!
Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former V.P. of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a U of Manitoba graduate.

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