Letters to the Editor: Saturday, December 31, 2022 | Opinion
It is your responsibility to wear a seat belt
Re: Seat belts on buses are long overdue (Herald/Courier letters Dec 28)
In his December 28 letter, Garry Kuse writes: “My position on this recent tragic bus accident is that I believe it is high time that full seat belts were installed on buses.”
I assume Kuse is referring to the December 24 bus accident on Highway 97C that killed four people.
Although there were seat belts on this Ebus, the majority of passengers did not wear them.
On the Global Okanagan TV news (Dec. 28), Cst. James Ward (BC Highway Patrol, Kelowna) was interviewed.
“Seat belts are required by law. If there’s a seat belt on the seat, you have to put it on,” Ward said.
However, it is not the bus driver’s responsibility to ensure that passengers over the age of 16 wear seat belts.
Ward: “You can’t expect the bus operator to be a police officer enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act. You do not have the authority to do so. However, should it be treated like an airplane with everyone boarding, they will not take off until everyone has buckled their seat belts. Maybe buses have to start with where they are at the bus depot, the driver walks down the aisle, makes an announcement and says we won’t go until everyone is buckled up.”
In 2020, Transport Canada made seat belts mandatory on new highway buses.
Seat belts need to be more comfortable
Tuesday morning’s Victoria Clipper from Seattle was canceled and my husband and I returned home to Bainbridge Island on Washington Ferries, then on the Strait Shot bus from there to Port Angeles and the Coho.
When we got on the bus, the first thing we did was buckle up. As far as we could see, none of the people around us were wearing theirs.
The seat belts were stiff and unyielding for an 80-year-old lady, but I persevered because the horrific accident in the Okanagan was still fresh in our minds. My husband found it easier.
Perhaps the strength of the belts is a safety factor, but making them more comfortable might encourage people to wear them.
New councilors wary of old ones
The last general election brought out some new faces. One would think that with new faces would come some fresh new ideas suited to furthering the illusory trio: openness, financial responsibility, and accountability.
Here we are almost a month and a half on a new council and we are no closer to this trio than we were before the election. A new councilwoman (Amelia Boultbee) and two incumbent councilors (James Miller and Helena Konanz) come to terms, not better yet the chutzpah, Cajones call it what you will, calling a spade a spade.
The “ruling councillors” (Mayor Julius Bloomfield, Campbell Watt and newcomers Isaac Gilbert and Ryan Graham) seem to have their heads in the proverbial sand when it comes to real issues like the bike lane.
Bloomfield and Watt appear to serve interest groups (e.g. Penticton Area Cycling Association). They would also be an ally of Matt Hopkins, a spokesman for PACA. The newcomers, Gilbert and Graham, are in line with the old guard in their novelty and naivety about local politics, seemingly going with the grassroots rather than forming a well-considered opinion of their own.
If we searched the city door to door, we could find that there are about 300 bikes in the city. It could be higher or lower. Based on the number of 300, CAPA has published attendance figures for members riding through a week and how far they have ridden. In the one week I checked they had 68 riders over the week and how far each rode. Not too good for a group that says it has around 2,500 members.
Simple math should explain that the 68 who drove accounted for 0.36% of their total membership enrollment. Imagine that in a given week the Boondoggle bike lane had a whopping total of 68 riders, or less than 0.5% usage. Wow! Are we really getting tax dollars worth, right?
If we go further and equate this to a connected count of 300 bikes and 68 users, we have an even more amazing usage figure of a whopping 0.22%. Is that what is considered real value for the money?
To put things in perspective, as concerned citizens and taxpayers, we should tear down the walls of City Hall and call for a referendum. Sitting on our laurels (buttocks, if you will) means we accept what the Council decides to do with our taxpayers’ money.
Cycle paths are rarely used in the winter months
Re: Lake to Lake Penticton bike route
As a seasonal recreational cyclist, I like bike paths, but…
Why put a cycle path in both directions on a one-way street? In combination with the delayed vehicle signal, someone will be injured!
And why spend money to clear the new bike lane and not clear the collective bike lanes? Seems it won’t be useful to you in wintry conditions unless you actually live on the bike path. If it’s snowing like it is now, wait a few days or a week and it will melt. In the last few weeks there have been very few, if any, users of our cycle path.
And I would have started by painting the bike lanes first for a dry run to see if we got it right, then proceeded with any changes and then added a boundary if deemed necessary.
Who has the right of way at all new intersections? It used to be that a bike being ridden is the same as a vehicle, while a bike being walked is the same as a pedestrian. So who has the right of way when a cyclist crosses in front of a vehicle on a cycle lane?
And has anyone thought of using the existing paved walkway from the high school to Atkinson Street? It’s only a short distance from Main Street for shoppers on bikes and much less intrusive.
A prime minister once said, “What are you worried about? It’s only a million dollars.”
My answer to that is, but it’s not about your million dollars.
Let’s talk about love in 2023
In a world grappling with epochal changes, let’s talk about love: specifically bringing love into the family.
Love is above all friendship. Lovers do not see their relationship as temporary. Young couples don’t expect their excitement to wane. As marriage matures, it learns to negotiate. Children don’t expect their parents to separate; but to be faithful and to stay together. A good marriage/family enriches society.
After the love that unites us to God, the love of marriage and family calls spouses to the greatest love adventure in the world. This family life of unity is rooted in the joy of friendship.
The characteristics of friendship are: concern for each other’s well-being, intimacy, warmth, stability born of a life together. Spouses can reflect deeply on January 1 to honor the mystery of the person shaping their life together.
Let us not fear attacks on marriage. Marriage will last because it is rooted in the deepest inclination of the human heart. This year, I will challenge those in my care to put love into their families, their jobs, and their vacations, every day, everywhere. Our inspiration is friendship with Jesus.
Now when I speak to our children, especially those under 15, I ask all of them (of so many different faiths or none in our school) to be partners in bringing love into their homes and schools bring.
This is the age group that can renew the world. They are still pure and even if they fail, they can start again immediately, always and with joy. They will then raise large families from their own marriages.
You are my greatest hope to save marriages and build a united world. I have never seen this truth so clearly until this Advent and Christmas.
Mrs Harry Clarke
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