Steve Wallace: Two plates vs. one, plus more from readers

Gerry sees many cars and trucks without front licence plates. They are not all from Alberta. Many are local or legitimate B.C. residents. Why are there so many of them? Is it still logical to require a front plate? He mused about Albertans thinking the front plate was a spare.

I suspect his comment was more tongue-in-cheek than serious. There are many Albertans who live part-time in B.C. and travel back and forth to the oil patch. This is not a new circumstance. A short break from wicked winters is a welcome hiatus. Their economic boost to B.C. is an advantage to our province.

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It is strange to see the vehicles from Alberta with no holes in the front bumper, which would be necessary to mount a front plate.

There are only four provinces besides B.C. that require front plates. There are several reasons touted by ICBC for the provincial requirement. Among them is the identification by police in certain enforcement circumstances. There was a case of identification consistency that had to be ruled on by a provincial court judge. Police had seen the oncoming vehicle’s plate and lost eye contact with the offending driver’s vehicle for a few blocks. Once the police caught up to the supposed offender, they could confirm the identification by the back licence plate number. This was needed for a conviction. There are other times when radar speed enforcement is much easier when a front plate is visible. Oncoming excessive speeders are easily identified.

The cost of having to produce two plates instead of one might be a motivator for B.C. to drop the two-plate tradition. There are rumours of ongoing discussions about B.C. eliminating the front plate practice. Time will tell.

Gloria wants to know if construction zones apply on weekends, when there is no work being done and no workers present. The answer is a resounding YES. This is one of the strangest rules. There are times when construction crews are simply lazy, and fail to cover or remove legal signs, when no one is working, such as this past long weekend. The good news is that the police are much less likely to issue traffic tickets in such instances.

Ann wants a clarification of the rules at a recently installed traffic circle at Cook and Southgate streets in Victoria. This is not a diverter. It is a single-lane traffic circle. A roundabout is a multi-lane traffic circle. Vehicle drivers approaching must yield to those in the circle. This is a simple rule, but the nature of this circle, where a major four-lane road, namely Cook, narrows to a two-lane configuration, is confusing to the uninitiated.

The higher traffic volume is obviously on Cook Street. The lesser volume on Southgate is often subject to the bully tactics of the Cook Street vehicle traffic. The constant convoy style of several vehicles locks out the Southgate vehicles, which should be proceeding in a zipper fashion.

Yield signs are strategically placed to send a simple message to all vehicle traffic preparing to enter the circle. Wait for the vehicle closest to the circle to proceed, regardless of traffic volume seeming to have an advantage.

Readers of this column will be aware of my positive comments with reference to traffic circles. They are inexpensive to build and even cheaper to maintain. Education is probably the best way to get the driving public on side. This new circle is in my Cook Street neighbourhood. It is confounding to many drivers, who come to a complete stop, instead of meshing with others in the traffic flow. Circles are meant to significantly reduce the need to stop. Getting eye-to-eye contact is the best way to communicate with others at this novel location.

steve.d.wallace@outlook.com

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.

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