Feature Story                                                           Tuesday June 28, 2016


A Rule of Thumb

The dying art of hitchhiking

Staff/Voice photos


James waits for a ride on the Highway 1 on-ramp Saturday morning. He was headed back to New West where he said he was from.


or a hitchhiker, every road goes somewhere. But, some get on it and don't care where they end up.

Hitchhiking certainly isn't as popular now as it was back in the 1960s-70s. Lots of folks threw their thumbs up and hitchhiked at least once, if not for anything but the thrill of it and meeting new people. There was an element of trust then that we appear to have lost over the decades.


However, even with all those nice people around, if you did enough hitchhiking, eventually you'd come across a negative ride. We can't forget there were serial killers out there too. Clifford Robert Olsen roamed the highways in the 70s looking for his victims.


These days you don't see too many hardy souls sticking their thumbs out. It's difficult to say why not. If there is just a general lack of trust, or that more accessible modes of travel are available nowadays. There weren't even BC Hydro buses in Port Coquitlam in 1970.


There's the social aspect to it. Some drivers will pull over just because they want company and someone to gab with. You'll find the road is filled with charm and character.

Hitchhiking is illegal in most towns, so expect to walk to the city limits highway sign on the other side of town, which can sometimes be miles like in big cities.

There are websites such as wikitravel with pages devoted to hitchhiking do's and don'ts. Other websites are entirely devoted to it with tips for both drivers and riders like at hitchiwiki.org.

If you're planning on hitchhiking this summer it's a good idea to check the sites for great tips such as: wearing bright clothing; or joining up with others if you're going to the same place. For security purposes, you can take a photo of the car you're getting into with your phone and email it to friends.

The safety tips and security ideas are designed to make your thumbing vacation a pleasant one and to help you get to and from your destination safely.







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