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Letters Dec. 5: Plenty of cyclists on bike lanes; don't flash those lights; unhappy about the lighted-trucks parade

Near empty bike lanes? 74,000 trips a day!

Noted, with some amusement, that another writer to the letters page bemoaning the absence of bicycles in the city’s network of “expensive” bike lanes. The writer is not the first to make such a claim, and most likely, not the last.

Thought it would be a good time to check the numbers. So far, in 2023, the automated counter on Wharf Street has recorded more than 500,000 bike trips — more than 1,600 a day, on average. The one on Pandora near 400,000, more than 1,100 a day. More modest numbers are found using the Fort Street cycle track — just over 700 a day, on average, and more than 236,000 so far this year.

Capital Regional District counters have been installed in 30 locations, mostly on busier routes and trails, but only gathering data across a small fraction of our transportation network.

A few of them are lately non-functional, undercounting travel by bike (and on foot), by some measure, even on those routes. At this point, more than eight million bike trips have been counted for 2023.

The CRD’s Origin/Destination survey pegs bike travel at near 74,000 trips a day across the region.

Hope that helps clear up the confusion for those unaware of what is really happening out there.

John Luton

Victoria

Flashing bike lights can cause problems

Re: “A reminder for cyclists: Be seen on our streets,” letter, Dec. 1.

Please turn off your flashing front lights and ignore the writer’s suggestion of “need flashing lights!” when riding on the road.

Other than emergency vehicles or a written permit was acquired, flashing lights besides a vehicle’s turn signals or flashing red light at the back of a bicycle are not permitted under the B.C. Motor Vehicles Act.

The rules regarding bicycle operation also state that the front lamp may only display white light, red for rear, and that “a cycle may be equipped with a flashing red light.”

Studies have shown a flashing front lamp on a bicycle makes it more dangerous as it is more difficult for drivers to gauge your speed, distance, and travelling trajectory at night.

Please respect the rules of the roads, and also be courteous to other oncoming road users.

J.S. Dean

Victoria

Most will not reduce fossil fuel usage

Re: “A global climate-change emergency statement for COP28,” commentary, Dec. 2.

If we believe our media and the latest science, we are facing a climate-change emergency.

Despite decades of high-level meetings and widespread warnings telling us we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, our consumption is increasing. As a result our world is getting hotter and our life-supporting biosphere is suffering.

Given the lack of positive response to these warnings and the ever-increasing environmental crises, it must be obvious that the suggested mitigation strategies, including the 14 offered by Joan Russow, will not work. Why?

The answer is obvious: It seems the majority, particularly those folks using the most fossil fuel, will not willingly choose a lifestyle that uses significantly less fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the obvious solution … behaviour-changing legislation with real-time, serious consequences … is not an option; ask any delegate attending COP28.

And by the way, if anyone thinks alternatives are a solution, they need to factor in the ongoing increases in fossil-fuel production: The recently completed Coastal Gaslink pipeline soon to be feeding fossil gas to Kitimat LNG is one example.

Ken Dwernychuk

Esquimalt

Decorated trucks, keep to other roads

Why do the 80-plus huge decorated trucks have to travel on the major highway north?

We were amongst hundreds of frustrated drivers trying to get to Mill Bay and further north on Saturday evening.

We left the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and were happily heading home! Not to be, as we were caught up in the congestion at McKenzie.

Hundreds — maybe near a thousand others — not impressed.

We understand the concept, but please have them stay off the highway. Stay in Victoria and surrounding local areas.

Most annoying and unnecessary.

Dorothy Stevenson

Shawnigan Lake

Scramble intersection might be the best

Re: “Parents sound alarm over dangerous intersection,” Dec. 1.

I’m a driver in this area and I agree, something needs to be done. In Australia and New Zealand scramble crosswalks are common. Why don’t we make use of this option in Saanich?

Pedestrians get a turn to cross with enough time to go to any corner of an intersection. Then drivers/bikers turning and going straight get a turn. No risk to pedestrians because all traffic is stopped when they’re crossing.

This could reduce harm to pedestrians and drivers are not stymied from making turns. Thus, frustration sitting at a light for several incarnations of red, green and yellow is lowered as well as pollution since traffic would likely travel more smoothly and quickly.

If my property taxes went to a transition of this nature, I’d happily pay.

Erin Lumley

Saanich

Fix the traffic light for more safety

Re: “Parents sound alarm over ­dangerous intersection,” Dec. 1.

I attended Cloverdale Elementary School from September 1961 to June 1968. The year I was in Grade 4, we were no longer allowed to leave the property via Quadra Street but had to exit via the back playing field and cross Cook Street at Linwood Avenue.

There was a lot less traffic in those days, so two student crossing guards, with a teacher supervisor, were sufficient to get students across the street; once on the sidewalk, we either walked right along Cook, or left up to the corner of Quadra and Cook.

Today, there’s more traffic, to be sure, but for several years there’s been a pedestrian-activated light at that intersection’s crosswalk. Cars have no option but to stop in both directions while the light is flashing; no driver turning left from Linwood onto Cook would think of entering the intersection while the light is flashing.

As I live in the area and drive near the back field of the school frequently, I’d recommend that the duration of the light be shortened; the light continues to flash long after a pedestrian has crossed Cook, backing traffic on the west side up to the gas station.

The crossing guard should be moved down from the corner in question and operate the light. Shorter lengths to get students across would be offset by more frequent uses of the light. Impatient, frustrated drivers on Cook Street would likely find an alternate route.

Lorraine Lindsay

Saanich

Police should deal with dangerous intersection

Re: “Parents sound alarm over dangerous intersection,” Dec. 1.

I have lived within 200 metres of this corner since the late 1970s/early 1980s, and I am amazed that there has not been a fatality (as far as I know) yet.

There is continual fast-moving traffic and a large number of motorists who have no respect for the traffic laws — especially those who turn right from Cook Street to go north on to Quadra.

They ignore or do not know that on a red light, one must come to a complete stop and not continue until it is safe to do so.

I have gone to Saanich police headquarters a number of times. It has been to no avail, as the behaviour continues on to this day.

In a nutshell, the folk at the police station have told me that they have “bigger fish to fry” and that traffic laws are not high on their priority list.

Saanich police should pay more attention to enforcing the road traffic and safety laws and regulations.

Robert Townsend

Saanich

Just pay the fine if you are caught

Speeding is bad, whether the owner of the vehicle, or an owner-approved person, is driving the vehicle.

Yes, the speeding ticket, and its associated fine, rightly goes to the owner of the vehicle. There is no legal loophole for the offending driver to “beat” the ticket, with a claim “not guilty, because I do not own the vehicle that I was driving.”

Note that the offence is not added to the actual driver’s record, since the police did not stop the vehicle to identify the driver.

But the fine must be paid. The owner may go to court to make an attempt to “beat” the fine. Good luck!

The vehicle’s owner only has two choices: to admit that the owner was responsible, or to identify the actual driver.

In the former choice, the owner can privately be reimbursed by the actual driver for the cost of the fine, without notifying the authorities.

In the latter case, the record of the actual driver is updated, to register the offence against the driver’s licence.

The only way to “beat” the updating of either driving-record is to quietly pay the fine.

Melvin Klassen

Victoria

Private sector fuels the economy

Re: “Those taxes help pay for many services,” letter, Dec. 2.

Let’s not forget where the money to pay for those taxes comes from: The private sector. Various levels of government then redistribute in our mixed market economy.

Taxpayers in the private sector pay their taxes. Taxpayers in the public sector (politicians, civil servants, nurses, doctors, teachers, police, military etc.) also pay their taxes, but the money for their salaries originates in the private sector.

So, “driving to the store” on good roads, and “health care,” and “education,” while purportedly paid for by governments, is actually paid for by the private sector.

Having worked in both private and public sectors, whenever I hear the word government, I say to myself “taxpayers in the private sector.”

Mike Spence

Victoria

Government’s opioid policies raise questions

Re: “B.C. in court in bid to certify opioid class-action lawsuit,” Nov. 28.

Is it just me or has the B.C. government put itself into a “Catch-22” situation?

Back in July 2021, it introduced a new policy on the safe supply of drugs by way of handing out up to $22.6 million to the health authorities to support the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of prescribed safer drug supply services as a means of slowing down the number of deaths during the on-going opioid crisis.

One of the medications made readily available is the drug Dilaudid which is highly addictive in of itself.

Now comes word that the B.C. government is asking the Supreme Court to certify a class-action lawsuit against the opioid makers on behalf of all provinces and territories.

So how is it that the government can hand out addictive medications made by those very same opioid drug makers and then two years later want to sue them for negligence on the other? In my books, you can’t do both. So when is this nonsense of handing out so called safe supply of drugs going to stop?

Al Deacon

Victoria

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