I accidently did a social experiment this month.
One of my “annoyances” occurs when I am taking my dogs for their daily walk. One road has a middle yellow line and the other does not.
On the unlined road, drivers are courteous and move to the other side, giving my car-chasing dog a wide berth. On the lined road, about half of the drivers steer as if the centre yellow line was a barrier that would rip their tires to shreds. They come uncomfortably close as there are sections of both roads with no shoulder, just bushes or ditch.
I rarely use Facebook, let alone post. (My own page is pretty sparse.) I posted the following on the Summerland “Locals Helping Locals” Facebook page:
“Many of the country roads in the ‘suburbs’ of Summerland are quite narrow. More and more of us are walking/running on these roads as an alternate form of exercise during lock-downs. Drivers — the yellow line is not a magic barrier. If there is no oncoming traffic, please ease over to the other side to give walkers/joggers and especially their dogs some comfortable space.”
A simple suggestion, move over if it is safe. I did not expect any discussion. There were 41 comments and 84 likes.
Some people pitched in suggesting wearing high-visibility clothing would be helpful especially as darkness comes at four o’clock.
Others posted the impossibility of crossing the centre line as their particular road was hilly or had curves. I guess I should have anticipated that.
Another added with profanity, pedestrians should jump in the ditch to let the vehicle pass. There was a bit of back-and-forth as readers niggled each other. Some just seemed compelled to jump in just because they could. There seemed to be some argument as to who owned the road, vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians.
The best comment was: “I drive in the middle of the road anyway. Less pot holes.”
It seemed common sense and common courtesy were lost on some people.
The single solid yellow line regulation in B.C. is “passing is allowed with extra caution.”
A simple post such as mine managed to become controversial. I now have a better understanding of how a more serious debate would spiral into nastiness.
Social media can be evil.
PS: My charming wife proof-reader added: “On a multi-lane roadway, I swear these are the same drivers who will not move safely from the right light to centre lane when someone is trying to merge and go right. No traffic in sight in the middle lane and it would be so easy to move over to let the person merge, yet they remain in the lane and make people wait unnecessarily. When the passing lane is empty there is no risk in changing lanes.”
PPS: She declined to post on Facebook.
John Dorn is a retired tech entrepreneuer who resides in Summerland.