Safety on the road a personal responsibility

Re: Pedestrians walk dangerous route in downtown core, (Letters, Aug. 22)

Re: Pedestrians walk dangerous route in downtown core, (Letters, Aug. 22)

I’m not sure what extreme pedestrian hazards Diane Engelhardt imagines. Most of one’s own safety can be managed by being aware and exercising common sense.

There are some careless drivers, but plenty of careless pedestrians too. Pedestrians often jump on crosswalks without giving a driver reasonable time to see them and stop.

On Douglas and Fort streets and similar intersections, a car will begin a left turn when the crosswalk is empty, and some pedestrians will abruptly cross without warning, even if the car has already crossed the centre line against traffic. Then they scold the driver.

Such pedestrian behaviour at crosswalks is technically legal, but is inconsiderate and careless.

Yet the police think they need to “crack down” on jaywalkers instead – even those who do it smartly and safely. What a bunch of nonsense.

I find the bicycle-bashing particularly offensive. Cyclists work hard to exercise and keep our air clean, but are forced to ride only with dangerous, noisy, stinky motor vehicles. Misdirected laws and enforcement only harm those who don’t deserve it.

The 15 kilogram human-powered bicycle is not the problem, and is no match for a 1500 kg car.

In a car, a driver’s senses are obscured by windows, noise, and other distractions. Motorized vehicles kill hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists every year, and injure thousands more.

But if only one pedestrian gets hit by a cyclist, the haters will squawk and over-generalize about all cyclists.

The bicycle-bashers clearly don’t understand the experience of riding.

A cyclist can hear and see everything around them, and stop on a dime – unlike a car.

Many drivers and pedestrians have given me skunk-eye, even though I was riding perfectly safely. Without any common sense or consideration, they scowl and make hasty, ignorant accusations.

In reality, when on trails and sidewalks, most cyclists travel carefully at no risk whatsoever to pedestrians. I walk on trails a lot, and have no problem if cyclists are on the trail. I’ve never had cyclists swear at me, because I don’t nitpick at them for breaking trivial, inane regulations. That includes nagging about helmet use, which should be optional on trails, and which offer marginal protection anyway if hit by a 1500 kg car.

The overbearing Neds and Nannies bring it upon themselves. They should stop harassing and nitpicking others, and direct their energy at more real problems that our world faces, such as excessive waste of fossil fuels.

Dion Manastyrski

Saanich

 

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