Roadside mowers need room

Yesterday I stopped to speak with the road maintenance contractor operating the mower clearing the shoulder...

I like to talk about road safety with people I meet because it often ends up producing a good topic for these articles.

Yesterday I stopped to speak with the road maintenance contractor operating the mower clearing the shoulder of the roads in my neighbourhood. He was quick to offer three observations: heed the signs, keep your distance and wait behind when there is oncoming traffic.

“You were a constable” he said. “You know exactly what I mean about signs.”

“I’ve had drivers stop to scream at me and give me the finger because there was no warning of the mower. I’d love to tell them to go back and have another look because the signs are there. If you see one, be careful because I often cannot put them as close to the mower as I would like to.”

Cyclists are a bigger headache than most traffic, he noted.

“They pass by the mower with what seems only inches to spare. If I have to move left to avoid a sign or obstacle they would be under the wheels in an instant,” he explained.

“There was one once that I don’t know how I avoided squashing I had to move and he was right beside me!”

“I don’t know what many drivers are thinking,” he said.

“They come up behind me and swing out to the left to go by with oncoming traffic in the lane they are moving into. There’s even a sign to remind them to yield to oncoming traffic on the back of the mower. Everyone is in a hurry and they won’t even wait a few seconds for safety’s sake.”

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.

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