Qualifying to rent a vehicle in Britain has been a hassle for many people from Canada. The problem stems from the manual-shift designation request from British authorities. Readers of this column have been waiting for an answer to their questions concerning the proof of their legality to operate such vehicles.
Before going overseas, it is recommended that all drivers carry their driving abstract, which is their driving record of violations, commonly referred to as traffic tickets. Most B.C. drivers are infraction free. A letter from ICBC stating the right to operate a rental vehicle with a manual transmission can also be obtained.
C.S. and spouse got this verification from the corporation and had a seamless car rental experience. The proof was supplied by an ICBC clerk in the form of an email. They were very pleased with the prompt service. (The cost of renting an automatic-transmission vehicle overseas can be double or triple the manual rate.)
Several readers have referenced the hot-under-the-collar nature of driving this summer. Many drivers seem to have a very short fuse, and the police are very aware of the greater likelihood of confrontations during the hot summer months.
People who live on an island are generally more forgiving behind the wheel. The size of a city is also a factor: The bigger the city, the greater the anonymity. The CRD is about to become the pivotal size of impersonal reality. It is believed that half a million in population is about the tipping point of rude behaviour behind the wheel. (Winnipeg, in friendly Manitoba, being the exception.)
A case in point: Last week, I was behind a pickup, which had a load of lumber slide off the lowered tailgate while negotiating a slight uphill grade. The two-by-fours were scattered across the intersection, impeding vehicular traffic. The driver was alone in the truck. He got out to put the lumber back in his truck. Being the first driver on the scene, I got out to help him retrieve the load. At least six vehicles behind me and even more behind the pickup stopped to allow the retrieval.
Nobody else got involved. Some even sounded the horn. One guy crossed over the median and raced oncoming traffic in order to escape the delay. It took about five minutes to get the pickup driver mobile. Are we getting more impersonal as our Lower Island population approaches half a million? This is the first time I have ever witnessed such detached behaviour in Victoria or any other major centre on the Island.
Barry is frustrated with drivers who insist on stopping at a highway merge area. He sees drivers acting as though they are approaching a yield sign instead. A merge sign gives drivers an opportunity to equal the speed of others on the highway and join traffic seamlessly. Drivers on the highway are obligated to let others into the highway lanes. A yield sign puts those wishing to enter at the mercy of those already in transit.
Several readers have asked about e-bikes, wanting to know if any new licensing requirements are being considered. Casual conversations with those in the know have yielded the following: Authorities are concerned with not only the powered bikes, but also other alternate forms of powered transportation. They have been overwhelmed by the ride-sharing debate, as of late. Once it is put to bed, there will be an appetite to address the other alternate forms of powered travel. Nothing is likely to happen while the present provincial government is in a power-sharing agreement. Rumours abound.
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.