There is nothing like a near miss or collision to focus your mind on road safety. I often hear from people hoping to enlist my help in solving their issue. Requests have ranged from posting lower speed limits to constructing left turn lanes recently. Most people have already tried something on their own and are frustrated with what they see as the authorities not wanting to apply what they see as the solution.
According to the Association of School Transportation Services of British Columbia, travel by school bus is statistically the safest method of ground transportation in Canada and by a substantial margin. I’m sure that we all expect and demand nothing less when our children and grandchildren are riding those buses to and from schools and school related events. Surely all drivers should understand this and not hesitate to stop when the red lights on a stopped bus are flashing.
The article that I wrote two weeks ago concerning solving your own road safety problems prompted an inquiry from the East Kootenays. The writer complained that a section of Highway 31A leaving the town of New Denver was marked with a 50 zone ends speed sign and the next kilometre or so of the road had many driveways, some intersections, a pedestrian crossing for a public trail and was regularly used by cyclists and pedestrians. Some drivers, with motorcyclists singled out for special mention, regularly travel here at speeds as high as 120 km/h. Would I please have a sign put up limiting the speed to 50 or 60 km/h here?
The question this week revolves around vehicle noise in quiet neighbourhoods. Why don’t the municipalities do more about it asks my correspondent. This may be a case of the squeaky wheel not getting the grease!
Everyone would like to feel safe in their neighbourhood and that extends to having everyone else obey the driving rules when they are in it. So, what do you do when this is not the case? The answer depends on how much you want to become involved in the solution.
Are you guilty of the offence shown on the violation ticket but unable to pay the ticketed amount? In many cases you can have the fine reviewed and set to a penalty more appropriate for your circumstances without having to set foot in traffic court. When the penalty cannot be reduced or you need both a reduction and time to pay, that can be accomplished as well. All you need to do is to complete and submit two forms for the judicial justice to review.
Argh! The driver in front of me is not doing the speed limit! Yes, I’ll admit that I often feel the this way, even when the speed differential is as low as 5 to 10 km/h. I have to tell myself to relax and follow along until there is a safe opportunity to pass by or even be satisfied with reducing my own speed to match and not worrying about it. The trouble is, that only works if you don’t have a schedule to keep and in some circumstances slow driving can be dangerous.
I was asked two interesting questions via e-mail this week: “Is it law or simply a rule in BC that pedestrians should walk facing the traffic when there is no sidewalks along the roads? What happens when the highway maintenance company leaves no shoulder to walk on?” As I contemplate my answer, many thing run through my mind. How do we learn to be a safe pedestrian? How many people don’t know the rules for driver / pedestrian interaction? What are the risks in deciding to walk on or beside the highway?
My dear wife had her tablet open the other evening and commented to me about a minor furor in a local buy and sell group on Facebook. Someone in the group was trying to sell a child safety seat and was being badgered because it was against the law to sell car seats. I wondered what law made it illegal to sell child restraints because I had not heard of one before. Do your research was her response, you’ll be able to write an article about it.
I’ve always understood penalty points to be a kind of score keeping method to assign a level of risk to the breach of a traffic rule. The more dangerous the violation, the more penalty points that would be assigned to a driving conviction. Rack up too many points in a set period of time and you would have to pay ICBC premiums and risk a driving prohibition from RoadSafetyBC. Regardless of the fact that penalty points have been a part of driving in BC for many years, they are generally poorly understood.