More important than the signals that motorist give to each other, are the signs by the roadside – actually, we are supposed to know who they all mean before we are to venture out on the road. Even so, it can happen that you come across a sign that does’t quite make sense (or maybe it’s one you haven’t seen before) – though it is hard to imagine a total confusion like we’ve shown on the right – that look like dog’s breakfast (albeit hot)!
More likely we’ll find very common and very sensible signs that the little “keep right except to pass” ones that have been planted besides our B.C. roads for decades. Now there is simple, but very effective (and inexpensive) sign that doesn’t discriminate between one motorist and an other. If all of us road users would follow this sign all of the time, we would never be confronted with lane huggers nor lane swappers, nor people cutting you off or forcing their way into your lane. And if observed in conjunction with other rules (like speed limit and such) there would be a lot less honking and fingering road rage. Because this little sign was designed (read de-signed!) on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Alas, a number of years ago, the provincial government, in an effort to “improve” on a good thing, decided to start replacing the old reliable small signs with a much bigger, more elaborate and much more expensive sign, that fails to get a clear message across. To begin with, it’s message “keep right – let others pass” clearly reveals the government’s goal to reach two kinds of road users: The ones that “keep right” and the “others that pass”. And since all of us law-abiding British Columbians always keep right, the “others” must be the foreigners, like those red-plated !%&#! Albertans and Washingtonians. No discrimination here, right?!!
To further clarify (or mystify) the purpose, graphics have been added to this new sign – a green and a black car on a double lane road, with black stripes/arrow showing the travel direction. Presumably the green is the safe are, driving by us “the righteous” BC-ers, and the “other” (black) car is obviously coming up behind the green one and then serves to overtake it (see arrow).
But note that our safe green car is staying in the left lane and that foreigner’s black car is passing i the right lane. That’s two No No’s!!
A dozen or more years ago, the government started replacing those little old signs with the big new one on all our double lane roads. But only a relative small number were placed – most signs our there are still those little old ones. And that little one is still being produced under code R007-2 in the BC government inventory. It appears no more of the new ones have been placed for some years – maybe our leaders got wise to the misleading aspect of this product and decided to let it die quietly? This we continue with a mixed message – while we’re reminded to “keep right except to pass”, we are also informed that “others” are permitted to pass, and to do so any which way. We think that those new signs have become an expensive exercise in futility, only causing more confusion the longer they are left out there. It brings to mind that Old Marlene Dietrich song:
Where have all the flowers gone? When will they ever learn?