Vince is a regular reader of this column. He and other readers have been irritated by the poor driving behaviour of truckers sharing our roads.
He wants truckers to stick to the right lane of a two-lane hill climb. Why inconvenience other road users, by passing another loaded big rig on an uphill climb? Inching ahead of another truck in the passing lane, while motor vehicles with obvious power to spare are impeded, is not indicative of professional courtesy. This is one reason why B.C. might follow other provinces and states south of the border, in disallowing big-rig passing on freeways, let alone hills.
Sharon’s husband wears black leather when riding. She would rather see him in a bright colour. Motorcycle riders of old wore leather for protection and warmth. These days, high-tech warm clothing is available. Being seen is more important now than ever before. Having a protective outer second skin is valuable, given the chance of an unfortunate incident in which the rider hits the ground because of a loss of control or the error of another traveller.
Mel was shocked to have to do the driving test in Scotland, because there was not a manual-transmission designation on his B.C. licence. This is ridiculous! There is reciprocity between the two jurisdictions. Maybe things have changed. Does anyone frequenting this column have additional information? All our driving licences include manual certification without declaration to foreign licensing bodies. Sounds like a Scottish revenue motivation!
Paul wants a change to the Motor Vehicle Act. Bicycles are supposed to go one at a time, when making a left turn at a four-way stop. When several approach, he references the act, which states they should go in single file. This causes cars to wait for several bikes to make a left turn individually. Wouldn’t it be better to let the bikes go in a bunch, or at least in twos, side-by-side?
Brian suggests left turns from a dedicated left-turn lane at an intersection governed by a red traffic light should be legal, if no oncoming traffic is present. This seems like a logical way of keeping the traffic moving, when the green solid traffic light is allowing drivers to proceed straight through, with no oncoming vehicles present. The flip side is obvious. We have enough trouble getting drivers to come to a full stop before making a right-on-red move, let alone allow this manoeuvre. It is still worth a try, says Brian.
Richard thinks motorcycle riders should be able to lane-split and use the paved shoulder of the road. He says it is legal in Utah and California, and legislation is being considered in neighbouring states of Washington and Oregon. Using the shoulder seems logical. I asked highway engineers about this same topic a few years ago. They agreed the shoulders would support motorcycles, but many road shoulders were not constructed to specifications that would support passenger vehicles. This has probably changed, since there are several examples of present-day road-shoulder construction supporting buses.
Lane-splitting is another topic altogether. This is the practice of allowing a motorcyclist to ride on the white line separating vehicle lanes. It is legal in many areas of the U.S. Drivers must be extra careful when opening a car door in gridlocked situations, lest they “door” a biker. The onus is totally on the car driver to open the door safely in all jurisdictions of North America. This principle would take a great deal of education prior to implementation. We can’t seem to get many drivers to accept the zipper merge activity. They think the right-side travellers are cheating: They are not.
What would they think of a biker lane-splitting? Probably the same thing.
More to come next week.
Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former vice-president of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a University of Manitoba graduate.