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Bells on bikes could solve Galloping Goose trail problem

June 4, 2021

Cyclists ride the Galloping Goose Trail near Uptown Shopping Centre. Columnist Steve Wallace’s inbox has been dominated lately by complaints about cyclists by pedestrians. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST


The more bike riders, the fewer motor-vehicle drivers on our roads. Now this does not mean that all those riding bikes have a driving privilege, namely a valid driver’s licence, but the reduction in motor vehicle traffic on our roads is noteworthy.

Motor vehicle drivers are not the only ones who are concerned with the inappropriate actions of some bike riders. Lately, my inbox has been dominated by complaints about cyclists by pedestrians, as opposed to those by motor vehicle drivers.

P.H. and her husband are both in their eighties. They like to walk the Galloping Goose trail in Victoria. They have one big problem. Cyclists intimidate them by going far too fast and whizzing by without any kind of warning. They appreciate cycling but would like to see every bike equipped with a bell or horn, which would provide some warning to vulnerable and exposed pedestrians getting their daily exercise. The addition of motorized vehicles of significant power on our Vancouver Island trails is another concern. She also referenced the prospect of testing for bicycle riders and motorized bikes. This has not been addressed by many provincial governments across Canada. No such action has been taken in B.C. The registration alone would be an administrative nightmare, with little likelihood of breaking even financially.

Robert made a relevant observation about rear licence plates for those with bike racks, which often obscure the rear plate on cars and trucks. He wants us to follow the example of several countries which mandate a third licence plate for those carrying bikes at the back of their motor vehicles. The plate is supposed to be affixed to the bike rack. It remains visible throughout the motorist’s travel. He says it is the law in the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. Is it time for us to follow their lead?

J.B. has noticed a general lack of polite behaviour, as of late, by both drivers and cyclists. As the pandemic is coming to an end, there seems to be a pent-up demand for more vehicular travel. Traffic volumes have increased, and abusive gestures and otherwise impolite behaviour by all types of commuters is seemingly more prevalent. Bikers abreast of vehicles seem to set drivers off and drivers who do not check their shoulders for cyclists seem to set bike riders off. The blind spot check is now covered by modern vehicle surround mirrors, which makes it a lot easier to keep track of cyclists in a 45-degree shoulder angle space. My new car has a blind spot warning symbol. Drivers without this technology should always check their appropriate shoulder before every turn, lane change and curb park in and out.

FJ wants to let everyone know it is an offense to park facing the wrong way on the street. It is also an offense to block any portion of the sidewalk path across a driveway. He got a ticket and would rather have had a warning. Police warnings are at the discretion of the officer. These types of actions are generally complaint driven. Neighbours?

Motor vehicle drivers are going to have to be much more aware of cyclists of all types in our shared traffic system. There are the traditional two-wheel bikes, coupled with all sorts of new options for those who wish to ride. Some want to stay in good physical condition. Others cannot afford a car. Still others are drawn to alternate forms of two, three and four wheeled cycles. Fat-tired motor assisted bikes, expensive low-riding three-wheeled tricycles and all sorts of uncommon but embraced motor or peddle powered vehicles are the future.

Drivers be aware! Riders do the same, as you bear the brunt of injury and worse.

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