LETTER: Lack of licensing creates friction between cyclists and other road users

The word cyclist dehumanizes people, and drivers often berate people on bicycles, but something has been bugging me for awhile.

Contrary to a recent writer’s belief, I don’t subscribe to the view that drivers’ or pedestrians’ frustration with people on bicycles qualifies as contempt or hatred of a minority group.

In the spirit of healthy dialogue on the subject, I’d like to suggest that the friction between users of the roads and sidewalks is rooted in the fact that there is inadequate or non-existent training or licensing of people who use the various vehicles.

In fact, we probably don’t think of some as vehicles at all. When streets and roads were not as congested as they are now and fewer people were commuters on bicycles or used scooters when they found walking difficult, this was less of a problem.

READ ALSO: Rickter Scale: Dealing with bike lanes

Now we are in need of a more comprehensive set of enforceable, mutually understood laws and permits for all categories of users on sidewalks and roads. I’d like all cyclists to fully comprehend that they are not pedestrians. They are not permitted to veer willy-nilly onto sidewalks or crosswalks. Yet, to save a few seconds of time, they do so frequently without dismounting and walking. If cyclists are not confident on the road, they shouldn’t be on the sidewalk either.

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

Scooters, too, require clarification as to whether they are road vehicles or sidewalk vehicles. Standards for courtesy and warning signals from scooter users would be helpful as well.

READ ALSO: Recent collision raises questions about rules of road for personal mobility devices

Before taking to the road (or sidewalk if permitted), all vehicle users should take training and be issued a permit or licence. Today it’s easily done online without much administrative cost. Vehicle users must show they understand the rules as well as standardized signals for the vehicle they are operating.

Clear understanding of the concessions and rights of way owed to others on the road and pedestrians on the sidewalks would do a great deal to eliminate frustrations, injuries and/or deaths on both sides.

Lynda Grace Philippsen

Victoria

Just Posted

Former runaway teen helps find missing youths through social media

Alex Meikle created the Facebook group Greater Victoria Missing & Runaway Teens

Cloudy skies, showers ahead for Monday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Candidate Corner: Cowichan-Malahat-Langford hopefuls talk environment and climate change

This is part one of a four-part series outlining candidates’ thoughts on key topics

Character of the community revealed in new Oak Bay track mural

Artist Luke Ramsey marches along with latest public work

Sidney could take additional action around speculation tax

Council to consider steps later this fall after staff review of provincial statistics

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Andrew Berry trial nears end, Victoria joins tree-planting pledge and more

Three second-half goals lead Cavalry over Victoria’s Pacific FC

Cavalry FC downed Pacific FC 4-1 on Sunday in Canadian Premiere League action

Island music trivia tournament a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Most Read