Steve Wallace: Bike racks, texting pedestrians fuel angst

Why are readers upset? Several topics provide the angst. Read on!

Many bike riders install a bike rack on the back of their vehicles. This causes the back licence plate to be covered. There seems to be no obvious solution to this identification problem. Very few bike racks are designed to provide a clear view of the back plate, which has the necessary expiry information for authorities and the public. There should be some solution provided by the designated authorities. Bike riding is a healthy, effective, and worthwhile activity. We should be encouraging this activity, not encumbering it.

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Texting pedestrians are a nuisance at seemingly every intersection, sidewalk and trail system. There is no law against the practice, or so it seems. Several emails last week, from very well-informed people in positions of authority, confirmed this fact. How do we protect these texters from themselves? What is the solution? Your thoughts are appreciated. Do we really need another law on the books?

Want some free entertainment? Go to any recently constructed traffic circle and watch the drivers try to enter in some sort of orderly and equitable fashion. The Cook Street circle in Victoria is a good example. The city must have seen this one coming, because they have provided a free bench from which the casual observer can witness the pop quiz circle test. Vehicle drivers are supposed to alternate their entry, but of course several clueless drivers revert to bigger is better, or speed trumps safety. Is it a matter of time before a traffic cop is dispatched? Hope springs eternal.

School zones should be discontinued and replaced with playground signs. Does anyone really know when a school zone is in effect? If you said on school days only, you would be correct. The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sign must have a 30 km/h tab attached. Now for the good part. The zone ends when a driver reaches the back of a sign, that the driver is unable to read, placed on the opposite side of the road, with a neutral colour, which often blends into the background and will on many occasions goes unnoticed. Do drivers know when spring break begins and ends? How about Christmas and Easter holidays? Do they know the zones are not in effect during summer school? How about private school holidays?

Playground zones are generally daylight hours every day of the year. Simple. This change has already been adopted by at least one other Province. It is long past time B.C. took a page from this other jurisdiction and ended the ambiguity of the troubled school zone application.

Bikes on trail systems certainly got a mention in recent emails. Why can’t they just give a verbal warning when passing vulnerable pedestrian from behind? Slower moving pedestrians would appreciate the “passing on the left” announcement. Trail systems are for everyone. The Galloping Goose is probably the most recognized on Vancouver Island. The Stanley Park experience is world famous and there are all sorts of examples of similar multi-purpose trails throughout B.C. and across Canada. People everywhere are trying to keep fit. The cheapest and most available physical fitness activity is a brisk walk. Even a slow walk will do. In general, the right-of-way is given to the slower moving entities on any of the recreational public travel paths.

Summer is upon us, and we will all be getting out and around more often. The pandemic is coming to a protracted end. Vaccines will free us all. As things return to a more normal existence, let us all try to be more aware of those around us. Travellers all.

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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