Cyclists on the road

With the summer months approaching, there has been an increase in cyclists on the roads. The majority of cyclists use the roads safely and follow the rules, communicate, wear reflective gear with lights and reflectors, use bicycle lanes and practice good defensive riding. 

Unfortunately, there are a small minority that do not use the roads safely and are becoming a real and dangerous hazard.  

We will discuss the following and suggest some tips to try to avoid a potentially bad situation.

Just like cars in rush hour, cyclists will also experience congestion during peak travel hours. There are a range of cyclists in terms of experience, speed, stamina, and road sense.

In peak hours, I  have observed cyclists that are in a rush and get impatient with slower traffic on bike lanes and trails. Just like cars in rush hour, these cyclists will weave in and out of the bike lane or trail, take risks by cutting other road users and will go on and off sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks as they see fit. also, it is difficult to determine their intention as most fail to appropriately communicate their clear intention.

In my lesson yesterday, my student was turning right on a red light in an intersection. We were on a dedicated right turn lane and the bike lane to go straight was on our left. Cyclist going straight on the road would be using the bike lane and normally, they would be on our left. As we prepared to turn, my student made a full stop before the white line, scanned, right mirror and shoulder checked. As he started moving, a lady was riding on the right sidewalk and rode past us on the right. She did not stop for the red light and continued through riding on the crosswalk straight without even looking at us turning right. 

It was fortunate that we both saw the cyclist in our last shoulder check and my student did not continue his turn. I only cringe to think what might have happened if a driver in a similar situation turned without a right mirror check and shoulder check? The cyclist would most definitely have been struck and could have been fatal.

Some tips that we suggest are;

  • never assume 
  • be patient
  • do all safety checks(scan, mirror, shoulder check)
  • see the big picture

Enjoy the sunshine and be safe on the roads!!!





Rush Hour Driving tips and suggestions

When we conduct lessons between 4-6pm, we notice a difference in driving. Drivers seem to be in more of a rush to get to where they are going. Consequently, the roads become more challenging to navigate. The following are suggestions that can help you with driving in rush hour;

  1. Stay calm, breathe, try to have good posture in your seat so you are ready to react 
  2. Make good scans and shoulder checks when passing through or turning in an intersection
  3. Remember that in rush hour, there are vehicles that will tend to not make full stops but rolling turns , and will beat the red light so scanning before proceeding from a stop position is key
  4. Be defensive, avoid a crash situation even though it is not your fault
  5. Stay calm, breathe
  6. There is a higher volume of cyclists and pedestrians, good scans and shoulder checks is a must when going through intersections and making turns. and when there are bike lanes and crosswalks.
  7. Try to maintain a safe following distance and try to not to box yourself in when driving beside traffic, always strive to have space around your car, think of a chessboard
  8. When approaching a stale green light, check your rear mirror to be aware of cars behind you. Cover your brake and approach at a safe speed. If you are not past the point of no return, it is much safer to slow down and stop when you are approaching at a safe speed
  9. There are vehicles that will change lanes abruptly will no signal, keep your eyes moving as so you see the big picture. 
  10. Communicate, always show your intention
  11. Stay calm, breathe

Please contact Victoria Driving School at or if you have any questions or for help navigating rush hour traffic.

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of crashes

Fatigue is one of the leading causes of crashes

Driving while tired, fatigued, and sleepy puts drivers at high risk for accidents and collision. Fatigue affects all stages of the See, Think, Do strategy, it can cause inaccurate scans, slower thinking and reaction times. Read more about ways to stay awake and alert behind the wheel.

Why do I need to shoulder check all the time?

Over the years, I have observed many long time drivers that shoulder check less than student or new drivers. While this may be due to many factors, I want to reemphasize the importance of doing the shoulder check.

Why Shoulder Check?

Because of Blind Spots. Even with properly adjusted mirrors, there are large areas that can't be seen in the mirrors called Blind Spots. The most dangerous of these are to the side, other blind spots are below your field of vision in the front and rear of car.

When do we Shoulder Check?

  1. When changing lanes(mirror, signal, shoulder check)
  2. When turning in an intersection(mirror, signal, shoulder check, scan, shoulder check, execute turn)
  3. In a Cul de Sac(mirror, signal, shoulder check right before start of Cul de Sac, mirror, signal, shoulder check left at start while going around Cul de Sac)
  4. When making 2,3 point turns and U turns(mirror, signal, shoulder check)
  5. When backing up do a 360* shoulder check(mirror,  then start by turning body to the left and seeing at left rear and side of car, mirror,  then turning body to the right and seeing at right side and rear of car
  6. Before opening door(mirror, shoulder check, open door)
  7. Before pulling out from side of road(mirror, signal,  shoulder check)
  8. Before pulling over to the side of the road(mirror, signal, shoulder check)
  9. To turn left or right(mirror, signal, shoulder check)

Just remember, when you plan to change your road position or direction, please shoulder check to make sure that the blind spot on that side is clear!

Why we should Honk our horns!!

One of the best qualities of being Canadian is our politeness. Having been to different parts of the world, drivers tend to use their horn more often. At first, this may seem rude or offensive, but in reality, is a much safer practice for a number of reasons;

  1. In an emergency situation, you are very aware of your surroundings, (see, think, do)
  2. cars, cyclists and pedestrians become aware of the same emergency 
  3. cars, cyclists and pedestrians are made aware of your cars position and intention

It is extremely important to be seen or heard in an emergency situation, avoid a crash scenario with your horn, and just wave to apologize after avoiding the crash!


Does Green mean Go?

Many drivers feel that a green light in an intersection controlled by traffic lights means go . Actually, ICBC defines a steady green light as "green means go only if the intersection is clear, and it is safe to do so. Victoria Driving School Inc. teaches our students to do a scan, on every intersection, regardless of the colour of the light. When going through an intersection with a green light, we stress to scan(look left, center, right center) for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians crossing the intersection from either side and the oncoming traffic for cars turning left. Make scanning intersections a good habit that you can easily adopt in your everyday driving.

For more information, please click on the following;

Morning Commute

This is a first in a series of blogs Victoria Driving School Inc. will discuss about different challenges we might face on the roads. When we drive in the morning, we face some hazards that we take for granted. One of these is lack of visibility due to the sun rising in the morning. If your commute starts at dawn, and you head east, once the sun breaks the horizon, there can be a brief blind spot when directly facing the sun. My own commute has one of these areas. Because I am aware of this, I prepare myself by (1) putting my car visor in the down position and (2) I will have my sunglasses ready to wear once the sun becomes a problem for visibility. It seems like a simple common sense thing to do, but try to avoid being put in a position where you are not ready to deal with the effects of the sun.