A teen stepped off of the sidewalk as I approached, hopped onto his skateboard and began to weave slightly along the curb in front of my vehicle. He either trusted me with his life or had not given much thought to his own as he was far enough into the lane to be a hazard and had his back to overtaking traffic. I had to slow and crowd the center lane to get by.
Whether by oversight or design, our Motor Vehicle Act has chosen not to regulate skateboarders or roller skaters / bladers at all. They fit the definition of cycle but as specifically excluded from the definition. Since these people are not pedestrians either, no action can be taken against them under the Motor Vehicle Act for unsafe behaviour.
The Act does give municipalities the power to regulate skateboarders and other similar means of wheeled transportation. Municipalities that do choose to do so generally create rules for them under their traffic bylaws. A quick survey of those who post their bylaws online finds everything from no rules, to not riding them on the sidewalk, to banning them completely from roads and sidewalks.
Regardless of whether he was supposed to be there or not, it is wise to drive with significant care when approaching and passing. If you do not and a collision results, the courts can hold you as the driver partially responsible. You always have a duty to exercise caution for both others and yourself.
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]
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