Steve Wallace: Resolutions for a better new year on the road

2020 was a year like no other since the Second World War. Many are keen to see the end of it — me included!

Looking forward, there are many traffic related items which need attention. Perhaps the powers that be may want to adopt them as a to do list or better still, New Year’s resolutions.

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Victoria was once known as the pothole-free zone of B.C. Not anymore! Residents once bragged about the condition of their paved arterials but instead are sad to see the not so gradual degradation of the roads used to compliment our commerce and emergency vehicles. Many residential streets look more like a pavement patchwork quilt than a neighborhood road. City council should hang its collective head in shame. Maybe the recent by-election will result in a priority change.

A program to encourage all drivers to light-up, during daylight hours is worth addressing. This simple act is known to reduce crashes. A special message directed to drivers of older vehicles could impress upon them the safety benefit. Ohers could be made aware of the advantage of tail-lights being on all the time. It could be called the LIGHT up and LIVE campaign. The B.C. Safety Council is the obvious vehicle.

Delivery drivers are having a more difficult time finding adequate areas in which to park or stop. There seems to be a lethargic attitude toward accommodating companies and individuals who bring us everything from food to all the other necessities of life. Some studies have shown that 95 per cent of what we buy arrives by truck. Instead of resenting trucks for the space they need, we should be embracing and appreciating them.

Senior drivers deserve better! If the criteria and process for assessing the driving ability of seniors does not undergo a serious revision or at least a sober second thought, there will be thousands of seniors show up on the step of our provincial legislature demanding change. A payment of $200 for a mandatory doctor’s appointment and a draconian process will see thousands of our elders demonstrate a show of force seldom seen in our province. The undercurrent of discontent is like nothing I have seen in all my years in driving education.

The regulation of alternate forms of transportation must be addressed by the province within the Motor Vehicle Act. Most people are perplexed by a Segway form of travel. A single wheel under a pedestrian platform, with a stem type handle, is a novelty to many but a way to get around for those with serious balance ability. They seem to be permitted on sidewalks, but skateboards are confined to the street. Who knew?

Motorized bikes and scooters are getting faster and faster despite legislation forbidding boosting or modifying their power rating. Pedal-equipped motorized scooters and other weird and wonderful contraptions confound drivers and pedestrians alike. It is a matter of time before the province will act to regulate. The sooner the better, given the threat to life and limb.

There should be an increase in the fine for not wearing a bike helmet. The present paltry $30 is hardly a deterrent. The potential damage and cost to society, regardless of the incidence of occurrence, far outweighs the individual freedom argument.

Pedestrians are by far our most vulnerable travellers. It is up to all of us to protect them. They can be a big help to drivers by wearing reflective clothing. It should be a law. No pedestrian clothing should be manufactured without a reflective component. It would be so easy for our federal government to enact such legislation.

These are just a few of our readers pet peeves complied in resolution form. You must have some of your own.

It is traffic resolution time. Your turn?

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.

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