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Letters May 22: A better ICBC; Pandora sweep; how cyclists behave

Cyclists riding along the Pandora bike lane in downtown Victoria. TIMES COLONIST

Insurance Corp. of B.C. is much better now

The recent uptick in criticisms of ICBC due to the institution of no-fault insurance are generally without merit and not based in fact.

ICBC had become a cash cow for the B.C. Liberals (now soon to be represented by a BC United/B.C. Conservative coalition) and the organization run into the ground.

The B.C. NDP government has rescued ICBC and it once again properly serves B.C. drivers with much lower premium costs and excellent coverage based against any reasonable measure. So much so that its newly found financial stability has allowed for the payment of cash dividends to users.

Critics complain that they no longer are able to sue for so called “pain and suffering” claims, which provided a tidy income for trial lawyers in the process.

This structure set the stage for excessive litigation and frankly, fraudulent misuse of process in a great number of cases, ultimately driving up the cost of car insurance premiums.

Finally, it is seldom noted, but needs to be emphasized, that if an individual wishes to purchase private personal injury insurance, on a supplemental basis, they absolutely can.

In that case, they can litigate to their heart’s content. But please, spare me the cost of your personal desires. I think up to $7.5 million in coverage is sufficient for me and my family. Car insurance should not be seen as a get-rich quick scheme.

Dan Rowe


Indifference to the people on Pandora

Re: “Pandora Avenue encampment cleared by city bylaw officers,” May 17.

I witnessed the horrific scene on Pandora Avenue as swarms of police and bylaw officers cordoned off a massive area on the median where campers were located.

Residents were moved out of their homes with no notice, no ability to even grab a few essential belongings such as medication, identification and money.

I witnessed a young couple clutching each other standing less than a foot away from their backpacks, not allowed to grab them. I saw total indifference to the plights of these people.

Refugee camps in Third World countries are more humane places than what we are offering. When will Victoria council and the province join forces to provide a safe encampment until housing is available?

When will council members wake up to the disgrace and the unacceptable conditions our unhoused neighbours are subjected to? We need them to care.

Helen Smith


Pandora sweep is not a solution

Re: “Pandora Avenue encampment cleared by city bylaw officers,” May 17.

Anther sweep on Pandora Avenue. More lives of those already suffering made to suffer more.

The cruelty of having the few possessions you own being confiscated, thrown into a truck and impounded, maybe your medications, maybe that new tent just given to you, your clothing, and what does this accomplish?

Now those people are dispersed throughout Victoria, their social networks severed, their whereabouts unknown to outreach workers, perhaps left to overdose alone.

How is this a solution to homelessness and addiction? Are these simply throw-away people? This is embarrassing.

Andrew Godon


Kindness and respect required on Pandora

Re: “Pandora encampment cleared by city bylaw officers,” May 17.

I am not keen to wander around downtown yet have no idea of how homes and support could be provided to those living on the street.

But I do think that the way this particular sweep was handled was unkind. I was struck by the comments of Our Place Staff that had they been given notice they could have done some preparation with those who were affected.

Yes we do need to take some action but please let’s do it with kindness and respect.

These are human beings. They and their belongings are not just trash to be carted away.

And as to arguing whether it is a municipal or provincial government responsibility, this will not help us in moving forward but perhaps more funding for agencies like Our Place would — as they seem to realize that trust and respect are needed for these people, not just force.

Carol Hale


Don’t give all e-bikes a bad reputation

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

I agree 100 per cent with Patricia Coppard. There are definitely e-bikes on the trails and bike lanes that should not be there.

I am an 81-year-old woman without a car who rides both the trails and the bike lanes regularly. The speed at which some of the bikes are travelling is extremely dangerous as well as inconsiderate.

I want, however, to make a clear distinction between a throttled e-bike and a bike without a throttle. I don’t want all e-bikes to get a bad rap.

I ride an e-bike which I have to pedal to make it go. It does not have a throttle and therefore does not get up to the speed of throttled e-bikes.

Throttled e-bikes are, in fact, motorbikes and should be on the road, not on trails and bike lanes.

Patricia Johnston


Parents should teach proper cycling habits

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

Congratulations to Patricia Coppard for her informative column echoing the sentiments of many of us in Victoria who find that rules seemingly do not exist for those on bicycles, motorized skateboards, scooters and any other of the endless ­conveyances that travel at great speeds on the road and pedestrian walkways.

I also find it sad that parents riding with their youngsters on bikes ignore stop signs and, by way of this, are teaching their children that they do not need to obey the rules of the road.

It is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured by these speeding, and sometimes reckless, users.

Donna Craig


If not human-powered, keep them off the trails

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

Ban all motor vehicles from all parks and trails, especially the parks.

I am pleading with authorities to give the trails and parks back to human-powered nature enthusiasts. Whether it’s electric-assist or gas-powered, it is a motor vehicle and vehicles do not belong in nature.

The trails and parks are not enjoyable anymore for us birdwatchers, walkers, runners and cyclists. E-bikes, e-scooters, e-unicycles and e-scateboards/kickboards belong on roads only.

Bonnie Reszel


Bike lane ambassadors as one possibility

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

Frustrations are clearly rising among Victoria residents. A recent letter detailed the chaos caused by cyclists on the Galloping Goose and one suggestion was bike ambassadors.

Indeed. Going a step further, I’d make the case for bike lane ambassadors for city streets.

After spending millions on bike lanes, we see disrupted traffic, pedestrians in peril and scant few cyclists.

Attention city council: We should hire hundreds of senior citizens to become North America’s first ever “bike lane ambassadors.”

Think of it. In one comparatively low-cost waste of money, city council could speckle law-abiding cyclists amongst the peloton of self-righteous young men who view each day as Day One of the Tour de France.

The two-wheeled ambassadors would be old enough to remember that cyclists are supposed to obey traffic laws.

Brilliant. Imagine cyclists who didn’t ride on the sidewalks. Or cycle the wrong  way down one-way streets, ride two abreast, park their bikes on the sidewalk.

Instead, we civilians would witness cyclists who smiled and were even polite to pedestrians.

Bike lane ambassadors would only ride when it was nice outside — just like other cyclists. The rest of the time (October-April, when it rains, and between sunset and sunrise), those acres of downtown pavement can remain pristine, nursing the city a step closer to nature.

Alternatively, city council might encourage enforcement of traffic laws to include cyclists.

Tim Woods

Brentwood Bay

Liability insurance would make cycling safer

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

I agree with the views expressed in the column and think that one cure could be a law requiring cyclists to display a licence plate or visible licence number, on their clothing/backpack if necessary.

This would serve the same function that it does for motorized vehicles, part of which is identification.

A requirement for a minimum level of liability insurance would help defray the costs of accommodating them on the roads and trails, too, and I would like to see that. It’s not as if cyclists are incapable of doing damage to pedestrians and other cyclists.

Thoughts of someone who rode bicycles competitively in the 1950s (and trained on the roads) and at a time when you couldn’t get away with some of the entitled riding behaviour I have seen recently.

Russell Dawkins


We’re still in the early years of e-bike usage

Re: “Imagine if vehicle drivers behaved like some cyclists,” column, May 19.

Perhaps some historical facts would put things into perspective.

When the Model T hit the streets in 1908, there were 31 deaths in Detroit alone.

It would take another two-plus decades for traffic lights to become commonplace. By the late 1930s, deaths were reduced by 50 per cent.

It would take another four decades for speed limits to be federally regulated and seat-belts made mandatory in 1976.

Another three decades for the introduction of airbags in 1999.

My point? It has taken many years for the automobile to go from being a death-trap to a “safe” mode of transport.

While I agree that many e-bikes (particularly electric mopeds or electric motorbikes with pedals) have no place on a bike path, it’s a learning curve for everyone.

Unfortunately, legislation takes time to pass and even longer to implement.

It’s the Wild West; all we can do is make the best of it.

So, ultimately, the title of the column is flawed. Automobiles did behave like certain cyclists, and for numerous decades that caused countless deaths.

I’ll stick to my fixed-gear.

Neal Irvine



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