Friday, 13 September 2013

City Cops and Cyclists

As I have mentioned previously I have a police back round.  I say that because of the topic and those who were gracious enough to provide the information.

 I was at traffic court in Vancouver recently and while there I came across a couple of City traffic motor officers.  I have gotten to know one in particular from my times at traffic court and we speak regularly.  I have come to respect him for his dedication to his profession, his professionalism and his sense of humour.

You have to understand that Police have a different sense of humour than most people, other than maybe nurses. It comes from the fact that both of these professions overlap.  Police are first on the scene of collisions.  They are the first responders along with the Ambulance personnel who deal with what has occurred and now work at figuring out what happened, and at times have to deal with the families when the collision becomes fatal.

Nurses get the injured in assorted states of broken and are tasked with dealing with the injuries and the families of those injured, and sometimes worse.

I have been there, dealing with the collision scene and at the hospital and again at the home of the families saying those words that no one on earth wants to hear, and even fewer want to say.

I asked these motor officers what was there biggest “pevs” with cyclists.  Their looks changed and I saw two traffic guys that deal with the same things from the cyclists. These guys are at the top of their game at what they do, so when they spoke I listened.

 I will list the items that makes their blood boil.  That wasn’t how they phrased it to me, but I won’t use what they said here.  I asked for the top two items if they could change what would they be.  Here is what they told me:

1)      Helmets

2)      Red Lights / Stop Signs

1)      Traffic Control Devices

2)      Sense of Entitlement

Helmets – cyclists that don’t wear their helmets, because they don’t feel they need to, the law is stupid, or they just don’t feel they will never have an accident/collision.

Red Lights / Stop Signs – cyclists that don’t stop at red lights/ stop signs and don’t even cruise through them but blast through them.  I was told that slowing down and “California Stopping” (just barely moving, looking both ways then moving on) stop signs can be lived with, but not blasting through.

Traffic Control Devices – Cyclists that feel, no believe, that the traffic control devices in the City don’t apply to them, cause after all they are cyclists.

Sense of Entitlement -   Cyclists that believe they can ride where they want, how they want, the way they want, at any speed they want and disregard the above items mentioned, like helmets, lights, traffic control devices.

There are those cyclists for whom the rules of the road just do not exist, for whatever reason(s).  They get upset and point one finger at drivers, yell and swear at drivers, and will pound on vehicles then speed into the masses, and they believe they are right and it’s their position in life to make drivers lots in life as miserable as possible, because after all they are cyclists.

I suspect that in this we can include the fact that cyclists in the city just don’t or won’t stop, again, because they don’t think the rules apply to them.


I am going to add my pet pevs now:

1)      Riding on sidewalks

2)      Riding against traffic

3)      Helmets attached to something other than the riders head

4)      No reflective articles including lights

 It is the law that cyclists, just like all other vehicles, MUST stop at stop signs and stop lights.
Stop signs, stop lights, traffic control devices, those include signs such as One Way, and no entry, apply to every vehicle using public roadways.

A bicycle falls under the definition of a vehicle.

 ** Information Tid Bit One - when you are stopped under the Motor Vehicles Act, in this case in British Columbia, you are required to identify yourself to the satisfaction of the Officer stopping you. If you don’t, then you could be arrested until identity can be established.

   I have accepted a Costco card, because it has a name and a picture, albeit it a bad picture, but a picture. If your marks/scars/tattoos are listed in the Police data base, then this can work also.

On the down side, those same marks/scars/tattoos can be used to identify a body.


** Information Tid Bit Two - An intersection is that area of the travelling surface, where those surfaces interconnect. Roads, round-abouts, allies, paths, bike paths, sidewalks, at any angles that those using that surface may come into conflict.

Controlled intersection lights, yield signs and those that are mentioned in the BC Motor Vehicle Act are to be adhered to and to be dealt with as they are posted.  That includes speed zone signs, school zones, any sign that is directed to the safety of those who are using that piece of space.

 ** Information Tid Bit Three - There is only one group that is legally able to disregard the motor vehicle act.  If you are around Vancouver you will notice license plates that are white letters on a crimson red back round.  Those are diplomatic plates, those plates usually start letters “CC” – Consular Corp.

 Helmets are required for cyclists when riding in 6 of the 10 Provinces in CANADA.  What changes is the age level of those required to wear the helmet.

I am of the opinion that helmets, worn correctly, safe lives.  The rider is still likely to be injured in a crash or fall, but they are also likely to survive. 

 ** Information Tid Bit Four - Falls account for just under 60 % of all cycling injuries.
So wearing a helmet can assist with lessoning the injuries and the subsequent associated problems.
Intersections is where you are more likely to find Stop Signs and Stop Lights.  Most collisions involving cyclists and vehicles are at intersections.  Anywhere to roads come together, is an intersection.

 The roads were designed for cars by people who didn’t think about cyclists, that we know.  It is up to those of us who ride and teach riding skills to make sure that we can work with the rules as they have been laid out, and make the changes both sides can and accept.

We can be part of the problem or part of the solution.  I believe safe cycling is being part of the solution.

Please ride safely and don’t over ride your abilities, and please wear your helmet and reflective vest.


Thanks for stopping by,

     Safe Ride Home


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