Fewer vehicles, but more speeders
Excessive-speeding traffic tickets are on the increase. This seems odd, especially when there are fewer vehicles on our roads since the coronavirus reality. It is a novelty to have an open road ahead, at what should normally be a rush-hour time frame. The temptation to not only speed, but also speed excessively, is too much to resist for some on their daily commute. There has been a 700% increase in excessive-speeding tickets issued on the Pat Bay Highway. Recently, a motorcycle rider was clocked at 140 km/h in a 50 zone. The financial penalties are significant, but the licence suspension period may be several months for the driver and up to a year or more for the motorcyclist, who was reportedly driving without insurance and no driver’s licence.
This is the time of year when motorcycles are more numerous on Vancouver Island than in the previous winter months. Look for them! Drivers making left turns must take extra care in identifying motorcycles approaching. They are smaller and their speed is more difficult to judge. Riders should always drive with the headlights turned on.
Larry is a truck driver. He wants to know why he sees so many newer looking cars with no headlights illuminated during the day.
The vehicles noted are most likely those originally purchased in the U.S. and brought to Canada. We have mandated the headlights on with ignition for those vehicles sold in Canada since 1990. Not so south of the boarder. They did not start doing it until about 2015-16. There are some other countries that did the same, but their vehicles are much less numerous in Canada than those from the U.S.
Despite the above-mentioned situations, there is a dramatic reduction in crashes across the board this past month. Less activity equals fewer vehicle fatalities, as well.
Spacing has become the rule of the day. Not just social distancing on sidewalks, but also on the roadway. Some jurisdictions are allowing pedestrians the use of the curb lane on a multi-lane downtown street. This works well when there is not enough space for pedestrians on narrow sidewalks with no lateral distancing opportunity.
Diana is a regular reader. She cannot believe the lack of common sense displayed by some cyclists and walkers. On roads with no sidewalks, pedestrians should walk facing traffic. Cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Wearing something bright and/or reflective is a good way to get noticed, whether walking, riding, skating/boarding or on any other yet-to-be regulated mode of transportation.
The less we drive the longer our cars will last. This is an opportune time to save money by walking, cycling or availing oneself of the free public transportation. I rode my bike last week and was happy with all the open space. I took the bus and was able to see the social-distancing seating positions used by the other five occupants. Best of all, it was free. Entering and exiting from the back door only was a novel experience. I would have walked, but there was the threat of rain.
Questions remain about the short- and long-term effects of our present coronavirus situation.
Will there be a pent-up demand for motor vehicle purchases or will people stay with alternate forms of transportation?
Will people continue to work from home rather than travel to the office or central location?
Will teleconferencing replace in-person meetings? If so, will it be a decision based on health, or economics, or both.
Will Canadians continue to be the most travelled people on the planet? Will take-out eclipse dine-in?
Only time will tell. Stay tuned, it is bound to be a wild ride!
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 University of Manitoba graduate.