Dear Drivers of Hamilton

Sometimes turning an argument upside-down helps to demonstrate how silly it is.

By Frances Murray
Published July 24, 2017

I'm sure many of you agreed wholeheartedly with Krista Dam-Vandekuyt's op-ed in Saturday's Hamilton Spectator about the bad behaviour of cyclists. Here is a different take on this theme.

I am a driving enthusiast. I love the open road and have taken many long road trips over the years. Nothing can beat the exhilaration of finally reaching your destination after 12 hours on the road.

But today I am ashamed to be considered one of you. These are the driving infractions I have witnessed in the past week:

I, too, am not a perfect driver or cyclist, and I also try my best to respect everyone on the road. However, if I make a mistake in my car, it's less likely that I will die because of that mistake.

When I'm on my bike, it is in my best interest to yield to drivers who are going too fast to see me, not paying attention, and driving vehicles so large they might not even feel the thump when they run me down.

In conclusion: drivers, what is your problem? You are giving other drivers a bad name. Because of your bad behaviour, all of you are to blame and you should all have your right to drive revoked until you are re-tested for your driver's license.

See, now the argument just sounds silly.

Frances was born in Toronto and has lived in various places since that time returning to her urban roots in 2010 by moving to downtown Hamilton. She is developing a keen interest in urban issues with a focus on improved walkability and bikeability.


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By RoboRobbins (registered) - website | Posted July 24, 2017 at 18:47:53

If I had to name one Hamilton driver pet peeve it would be that nobody seems to know what a #^@*$_$ crosswalk is. So much aggressive driving and road rage against pedestrians who are crossing James N in a perfectly legal fashion, exactly in accordance with the rules of the road.

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By RobF (registered) | Posted July 25, 2017 at 09:02:22 in reply to Comment 121753

Remember in Hamilton a crosswalk is only a crosswalk (as per the Highway Act) if it is at a controlled intersection or is signalized ... the painted lines at James and Colbourne or James and Robert aren't technically crosswalks according to our police service and therefore drivers don't need to yield to pedestrians crossing in them.

As a new driver in Hamilton a number of years back I would stop for pedestrians waiting to cross ... assuming that was required. Got honked at and most pedestrians seemed puzzled, so I stopped. Same experience in reverse as a pedestrian. Sad, but true.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted July 25, 2017 at 11:32:36

In London (UK), drivers stop at crosswalks when a pedestrian is standing on the curb waiting to cross. It is amazing and wonderful, also proving that driving behaviour is cultural and can be changed.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 26, 2017 at 14:15:39 in reply to Comment 121756

It'll never work in Hamilton. London doesn't have an escarpment.

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