LETTER: Drivers a greater risk than cyclists

Re: CRD tickets cyclists who ignore stop signs at Lochside trail, Saanich Road intersection.

Yes it happens. But it happens much more frequently with motorists, which ever way you slice and dice it. The potential damage resulting from motorists’ malfeasance is far higher than it is for cyclists who disregard the stop-sign rules. One of the reasons it happens often is rolling stops are regarded as minor infractions.

READ ALSO: 25 consecutive drivers treat Saanich stop sign as optional

Take the corner at Cloverdale, Cook and Quadra. There are traffic lights, with a cycle of four different phases. One phase entails a green light for circulation from Cook onto Quadra and Cloverdale. The next phase entails a green light for circulation from Cloverdale onto Quadra and Cook. The third phase entails circulation travelling on Quadra to turn left onto Cook on an advanced green, turning right onto Cloverdale and carrying on straight on Quadra. The final phase allows traffic travelling on Quadra in both directions to pass through the intersection. For traffic approaching the intersection from Cook Street, there is only one phase where the light is green. During all other phases, circulation may turn right into Quadra Street. There is no green arrow light. Turning traffic is required, by law, to come to a complete stop before proceeding under safe conditions. Motorists very seldom come to a complete stop before turning right.

That activity occurs far more frequently than cyclists who disobey the stop sign at the intersection of the Lochside Trail and Saanich Road. The potential for tragic and devastating events is far more likely to occur at the Quadra Street location than at the Saanich Road location. The behaviour of cyclists at the Saanich Road site has far fewer chances of major damage and injuries than the behaviour of motorists at the Quadra Street site.

The emphasis should be on road safety. Education and enforcement is needed at both places, but it is more acute at Quadra. The problem on Saanich Road is not as dangerous for road safety than at Quadra.

In addition, large numbers of motorists execute their right turn at the Quadra site by having positioned themselves in the neighbouring bicycle lane. Often, if they do have to wait, they block the flow of cycle traffic making the same manoeuvre. Motorists are not allowed to be travelling or blocking movement of cyclists by occupying bicycle lanes.

READ ALSO: Saanich police issue drivers more than 100 tickets in one day

Is running stop signs and red lights a serious infraction? The fine is minor, no demerit points, and often only warnings are issued. Running stop signs and red lights is very serious and it should be treated that way. There is a reason for the law, and there is a reason why these objects are placed where they are.

A sad event occurred in Saskatchewan in the spring of 2018. An individual got up one morning and went to his job of driving a large truck. It is highly unlikely that the individual intended to cause harm, or even disregard the road safety rules. He came to an intersection marked by stop signs. For whatever reason, he chose to not stop at the stop sign. There was a horrific crash, and the rest is a well known history. All that happened, a truck driver did not stop, as required.

READ ALSO: ‘Why didn’t you stop?’ Humboldt families hear details of deadly crash

In events on the roads, motorists are far more numerous and potentially far more lethal than cyclists. For some reason the situation at the Saanich Road site receives more attention than the situation at the Quadra site.

READ ALSO: Extreme case of poop-throwing gives Victoria bike community a bad name

Two wrongs do not make anything right. It is not only cyclists who flaunt the road safety rules regulations and laws.

Robert Townsend

Saanich

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