The Government Didn't Tell Me

man with megaphoneI've been watching a number of conversations in the newspaper and social media lately, mostly with regard to B.C.'s slow down, move over law, but including changes to other traffic laws as well. The general theme has been that the government has been doing a poor job of telling the public what the new laws are and how we are supposed to follow them. Perhaps I am sensitive to road safety topics and pay more than the average attention to them but I must disagree with this.

There was significant publicity of the slow down, move over law both prior to and when it was enacted. I saw it on TV, in the newspaper and heard about it on the radio. I continue to pass large signs beside the highway that tell me what to do. I've seen articles on television and in print publications recently.

What may be closer to the truth is that we are bombarded by too much information every day. To cope with it, we ignore or do not apply full focus to all of the messages that are being given to us. As long as no damage is done to us or by us because of this, it isn't a significant problem. However, if common sense doesn't kick in soon enough and we receive a ticket or hurt someone it's probably not the government's fault here.

We may wish to be careful how we complain on this subject. Possible alternatives could include mandatory testing before licence renewal with shorter licence renewal periods to make sure that we are up to date. As with any other important skill, we have a stake in keeping ourselves up to date in order to remain proficient. It's not just a job for our government.

I agree with you that there was lots of publicity regarding the slow down and move over law - never mind the common sense to it.

However, there are changes that are not publicized. (Actually, the only other new law I can recall getting any publicity was the yield to busses pulling out) . And no useful source I have found to go to. The position in law that it is our responsibility to know the laws is nice - but a cop out for law makers.

For example, there are new hash marks on roads indicating crosswalks that cyclists can ride in.  It took me 20 minutes of google-fu to find out what they were - after a number of times honking at cyclists 'illegally' riding in crosswalks. And it is not in the ICBC Learn to Drive guide.

Maybe regular testing is the way to go, but I would like to see better sources for information on traffic rules and regs.  And regular public education - that could include 'old 'rules, as well.  How about a rule a week?

I do my best to try and inform but wonder how far I can reach... (end of shameless promotion)

You have also raised my curiosity because I have not heard of these crosswalk markings. In general in BC it is illegal to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk.

Rights and duties of operator of cycle

183 (2) A person operating a cycle

(b) must not, for the purpose of crossing a highway, ride on a crosswalk unless authorized to do so by a bylaw made under section 124 or unless otherwise directed by a sign,

Where have you seen this?

Thanks for the rule of the week suggestion. I'll work on it.

I'll also try to continue to publish what's new in traffic safety right here on the site.


On the City of Vancouver Site

Does that mean this is for a bylaw under section 124? 

Is the City using non-standard road markings - or is ICBC behind the times?

Still a problem for us lowly drivers. And maybe worse than I thought.

Note, my perspective in this case is from a car - so I wouldn't see a sign directing cyclists and would therefore 'know' I had right of way

I appreciate the link and the chance to say that I have been contradicted.

Vancouver is pretty forward in it's cycling infrastructure but I seldom travel there to see it. I have read the Bike Sense manual linked on that page, but it doesn't make any reference to these markings in it, nor does Learn to Drive Smart, the provincial driver training manual.

I generally look at the provincial government's Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings when I am puzzling over something like this, but now that I have gone back and looked, I see that it was revised in 2000.

So, you've done what was best in the situation where you encountered something that you didn't recognize, learned about it and then told others rather than wait passively for the government to tell you something.