Drivers cutting corners a danger to others

Dear editor,

When it occasionally happens that an oncoming vehicle crosses the centre line into your lane, does it alarm you? You no doubt feel that the driver of that car is not driving with due care and attention, and possibly endangering public safety. You may feel afraid for a moment. But what about when a vehicle ‘cuts the corner’ a little bit to the inside? To a driver, this is probably much less threatening.

However, pedestrians and cyclists using the shoulder are incredibly vulnerable to vehicles cutting the corner. For cyclists, they can’t even see it coming. This scenario has caused injuries and fatalities in some areas in the past, and remains a practice that is an accident-in-waiting.

During the fall of 2015, I surveyed 1,955 vehicles traveling past two corners on the Dyke Road and Comox Road.

I tallied

a) the number of vehicles in their lane,

b) with their tires on the lane marking, and

c) those with their tires completely on the shoulder.

The results were alarming. More than half of the vehicles (51 per cent) on Dyke and Comox Roads either had a tire on the shoulder lane line, or were completely over it and driving on the shoulder at some point.

The vehicles were counted over two and a half hours, spread between six observing periods on weekday mornings. During the survey, 49 pedestrians and cyclists passed by.

We need to keep our vehicles under better control. It is unacceptably dangerous if half of Comox Valley drivers are routinely driving on the paved shoulder. The safe and legal apex of the comer is outside the line, so stay in your lane!

I want to recommend line grooving (as on Hwy. 19 and the connector) to alert drivers who cut the corner into pedestrian and cyclist lanes. This should be done wherever drivers commonly leave their lane. Dyke Road, Hwy. 19A between 17th and Ryan, and Cumberland Road are all good places to start, as these routes are heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians, and by vehicles.

Ian McQuade

Comox