Islanders protest hitchhiking ban


Driftwood Staff

A seemingly never-ending stream of car horns honked in support of a Monday afternoon protest against plans to discourage hitchhiking outside of Embe Bakery.

It was announced at the May 29 Salt Spring Transportation Commission meeting that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure would install a barrier along the side of the road where hitchhikers often catch rides heading south out of Ganges. In response, the community gathered on Monday to share their concerns.

People were smiling and impassioned in protecting the spot that so many people use on a daily basis. Every now and then, the crowd would erupt in cheers as a car stopped to pick up people; an act of solidarity to the cause.

Protesting with the help of a walking cast on her left leg, Kerry Beswick said she relies on hitchhiking to get to work. Because of the injury, she said that walking to another spot further up the hill for cars to safely stop was not an option.

Not being able to hitchhike from Embe Bakery along Fulford Ganges would mean much more to Beswick than the inability to get a free ride with a member of the community.

“I am trying to keep my lifestyle in favour of having time with my children, so I have a really tight budget, and even spending five dollars a day to come to work on the bus is five dollars that can put a few more potatoes on the table,” Beswick said. “It just puts a barrier to those really essential connections with community and feeling like we’re here to support each other.”

For much more on this story, see the June 7, 2017 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper.

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