Steve Wallace: Two wheels should be treated like four

It’s about time someone in a position of authority normalized the rules and regulations pertaining to non-licensed modes of transportation, not only in our province, but across the country.

A pedestrian should not have to worry about being ambushed by a cyclist approaching from behind on a sidewalk.

article continues below

When will police begin to give the same attention to this obvious travesty as they give to speeding? When will pedestrians display and verbalize their obvious displeasure with this behaviour?

In true Canadian fashion, it will take a death or serious injury to a pedestrian, causing lifelong negative physical or cognitive damage, to motivate local politicians to act.

Kilometres of recently constructed bike lanes have not stopped jerks on two wheels from travelling everywhere but on the intended bike paths and lanes so generously provided by the taxpayers.

Most people do not know there is no obligation for cyclists to stick to the provided bike lane. They can ride in any lane available on any street at any time, provided they do not hold up other traffic. (The new bike-bus lanes in Victoria being the exception.)

Law-abiding cyclists are doubly offended. The vast majority wear helmets and ride properly equipped bikes in a relatively safe fashion. I don’t care about debating the merits of wearing or not wearing a helmet. It is the law. Just do it.

While you’re at it, get a light, bell or horn and signal your intentions. There are rules to follow.

Sadly, there are no rules, or so it seems, for several other modes of transportation.

Where should one operate a motorized foot scooter? Are they supposed to be in the bike lane or on the road? How about a Segway? It is quite acceptable for them to be on the sidewalk in California. How about B.C. or other Canadian provinces?

The silence of this type of transportation is a concern for pedestrians. The speed with which they operate would more logically assign them to areas of faster-moving motorized traffic.

Electric bikes fall into this category, as well. The electric assist factor is a welcome addition, particularly on steep inclines. Many of these electric bikes travel at high speed, without the operator being required to possess a valid driver’s licence.

Are some of the above-mentioned people-movers used mostly by those having been convicted of an impaired driving offence, or is this just an urban legend? On a more serious note, it seems there is an unofficial secret war on pedestrians being conducted and tolerated by an inactive legal requirement, accompanied by slack enforcement.

What of inline skaters, torpedo-looking aerodynamically designed low-slung pedal-powered oddities, unicycles and motorized skateboards? Are there any published rules governing where and how they must be operated?

Were you as offended as I was by the behaviour of Prince Philip after his recent crash? Days later, he was filmed driving without his seatbelt. Apparently, the authorities talked to him about the crash and his seeming disregard for the most basic behaviour at the scene of a crash.

I learned something very interesting through the media reports. The Queen is not required to possess a driver’s licence. She is exempt. The Queen can drive whenever and wherever she pleases. Only her good judgment negates the possibility.

Perhaps we will see her chauffeuring her husband in the future. Not likely. He singlehandedly, through his perceived position of privilege, caused concern for seniors everywhere.

He added fuel to the fire of discriminatory behaviour toward duly licensed seniors. Sad indeed!

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.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist
  • Discover Magazine

    Click here to see the latest Discover Magazine and our other special publications

Most Popular

  • CARRIERS WANTED!

    The Times Colonist is looking for newspaper carriers to work in the Reader Sales and Service Department.


Find out what's happening in your community.