Too many near misses
I first learned of the Oct. 26 cyclist/vehicle accident reported in the Driftwood last week while browsing a Facebook thread on the SSI Road and Ferry Report’s page. My initial thought was, “Is it somebody I know?”
I’ve lived on Salt Spring Island since 2012, and I know at least six people who have been hit by a vehicle. Among friends and acquaintances are many near-misses, including incidents I have experienced on foot on local roads.
The crosswalks in Ganges have become more dangerous to use too. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the crosswalk at the Lower-Ganges Road/Purvis Lane intersection, and a woman in a wheelchair was ahead of me. A southbound vehicle was coming fast. Too fast. It looked like the driver was not going to stop, and sure enough, they went right through the crosswalk.
I crossed at the Lower-Ganges and McPhillips intersection a few days ago. A southbound SUV was speeding through town, and once again, I suspected the driver would not stop at the crosswalk, even though I was already halfway through. She narrowly missed me, only turning to look surprised as I raised a hand to give a little wave, wondering if she saw me at all.
Sadly, everyone I talk to seems to have had a close call with drivers who are going too fast, are distracted, or appear aggressive when encountering pedestrians and cyclists.
Every year I write a note to Driftwood readers reminding all those using our roads and pathways to stay safe as we lose the light for another season. Your dark clothes blend into the streets and shadows, especially on a rainy day, but also on bright sunny days with a lot of glare. Please consider adding at least a neon arm or leg band and a flashing light or highly reflective gear that gives drivers a chance to see you from a distance, allowing them time to brake and move over. If you are running or cycling with others, give drivers a break, especially on our notorious blind hills and curves, and single-track instead of riding or running side-by-side.
I hate hearing about another car/human collision on our streets. Without lights, bike paths and a fully connected pedestrian/bike trail system, we must do the best we can, be patient and courteous, and help everyone get to their destination without fear of life-altering accidents.
Safer roads needed for all users
What a sad week for cyclist safety (“Cyclist recovering after collision,” Nov. 2 Driftwood). Cyclist Kio Grooms was fortunately not severely injured when a vehicle turned unexpectedly across his path. This is an extreme outcome of near misses regularly faced by cyclists on the narrow road shoulders of Salt Spring, while many vehicles speed by.
In other news, Salt Spring’s quarterly RCMP report included photos of two dramatic accidents where vehicles drove off the road, obviously at high speed. The driver of one of those vehicles was driving fast enough to shear off a hydro pole.
Which brings me to the need for safer roads for ALL users. Improved roadway design and speed management and enforcement are long overdue. These are province of B.C. responsibilities on Salt Spring. It makes me wonder . . . how can we harness the energy of our volunteer community, businesses, schools and elected officials to nudge the province toward action? One way is to join Island Pathways (at www.islandpathways.ca/history.membership/) and select the Cycling interest box.