Jim Brook follows the rules of the road as a pedestrian, and his motorized scooter is decked out in all sorts of high-visibility items, but drivers are still not giving him the right of way. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack man urging drivers to follow rules of the road

‘People might think I’m stupid for doing this but it’s my life,’ says scooter operator

Jim Brook has covered his motorized scooter in every attention-getting add-on he can imagine, in the hopes that drivers will see him and give him the right of way.

There’s the obligatory orange flag on top, and the reflectors that come with the low-powered mobility device. That didn’t work.

Then there were the additional neon yellow stripes he attached to the corners, on both the body of the scooter and its roof. He stuck googly eyes from a dollar store to the back. Still not enough.

Now, he’s added a flashing red light to his roof and caution stickers all around his frame; and no, that’s still seemingly not enough.

People aren’t stopping for him at intersections as required by law. Despite a walk light being displayed, people still cruise through taking left turns and right turns across his pathway, cutting him off or keeping him stuck for the next light.

Once, he was even hit by a motorist who didn’t even bother to stop. In that situation, at a Vedder Road crossing, he was thrown about seven feet across the road.

“It happened so fast,” he says, that witnesses didn’t even get a licence plate.

But none of this has deterred him from getting back into the scooter and out and about in the city. He got it on Boxing Day last year, after a long period of being stuck at home. He had been in hospital for a month with mobility issues, about four years ago. Then, over the last year his wife became too ill to drive him around.

“This has made me a new man,” he says of the new freedom he has. “But between then and now I’m a dead man 300 times.”

He keeps track of near-hits and bad drivers. He’s even scolded a few, he admits. But he is legally a pedestrian and has the right of way.

“I’m 84 and I have plans to hang on until I’m 130,” he says, laughing. These days, he’s become “a man on a mission.”

Brook has visited his MLA’s office, Laurie Throness. He’s brought the issue up with the RCMP, and the City of Chilliwack. He’s even spoken to ICBC’s long-running road safety and community co-ordinator, Mike Weightman.

“He told me I’ve done everything I can,” Brook said.

Brook is all about safety compliance. His career was as an aircraft electrician with a military background, and he’s always looking for ways to make transportation safe. Back in the 1950s, before vehicles had four-way flashing emergency lights, he devised a set for his own ’52 Ford truck.

“The following year, they came out with them,” he said.

He has rigged up his new flashing light system without interfering with his scooter’s factory system.

But none of safety features matter if drivers don’t adhere to safety rules on the road, he says.

“I’m a pedestrian but people don’t seem to know that,” he says. In areas where there are no sidewalks, he must travel in the bicycle lanes. That includes Chilliwack River Road, which is the route he takes to get into the downtown area.

“People seem totally oblivious to (the laws). People might think I’m stupid for doing this,” he says, pointing to his scooter and all of its safety bells and whistles, “but it’s my life.”

For more information about the rules of the road for various styles of transportation, visit the City of Chilliwack website (chilliwack.com) and click on “Public Safety.”


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Jim Brook follows the rules of the road as a pedestrian, and his motorized scooter is decked out in all sorts of high-visibility items, but drivers are still not giving him the right of way. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read