What it’s Like to be a Landscaper in the Cone Zone

Cone Zone Landscaping

When most people think of those who work roadside in Cone Zones, they think construction workers and the flaggers taking care of traffic control. But there’s a long list of other workers whose safety depends on drivers being safe and courteous.

Like landscapers.

Yes, those guys and gals beautifying gardens and lawns in and around commercial and residential areas rely on Cone Zones too, especially when loading and unloading equipment.

We recently chatted with Brian Ramor, owner of Think Green Landscaping in Vancouver, to get an idea of what it’s like to be a landscaper in the Cone Zone.

TranBC: Hi Brian. What can drivers expect to see you and your employees doing on or near the roadside?

Brian: Basically cutting lawns, picking up litter, loading and unloading trucks on the shoulder of the road, sometimes even operating machinery on the side of road.

TranBC: What’s your Cone Zone setup like?

Brian: We try to be active participants with the Cone Zone. We try to be more visible. For example, right now we do some watering at night for some properties, and in the wintertime, sometimes we aren’t finished loading when the sun goes down. So, we just got new cones with the reflective stripe for as soon as it gets dark.

TranBC: Do you find drivers always appreciate that you are roadside workers that need space?

Brian: No. Sometimes it seems they want to get as close as possible to us and the cones.

TranBC: Why do you think that is? Is it a distraction issue? A lack of respect?

Cone Zone Brian: I would say it’s a little bit of both. Some people may lack respect, or maybe they don’t have a job where they stand roadside, so they have a different perspective. If there was a reversal of roles, maybe they would respect and slow down, and give a bit more space. And, of course, there are still people on their phones.

TranBC: Have you ever experienced a close call?

Brian: Yes, just a couple weeks ago. I don’t know how it didn’t hit my hand. It was a car turning into a subdivision. We had cones set up, and I was actually in the coned area, and this car cut the corner really tight. They seemed to be in a rush and they just didn’t care.

TranBC: You’re a driver, too. What are some of the things that you look out for when approaching Cone Zones?

Brian: I think eye contact is important. You know, what is the worker doing? What is being loaded on and off? And watch behind you as you slow down to make sure the car behind you is also slowing down.

TranBC: We really appreciate hearing your thoughts. Any final message to drivers?

Brian: It’s one thing if you take out a couple of cones, but if you take out me… I’ve got a wife and a couple of kids at home, you know?

Do you, or someone close to you, work roadside? What do you want drivers to keep in mind?

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2 Responses to What it’s Like to be a Landscaper in the Cone Zone

  1. Barb Newcomb on August 14, 2016 at 9:49 am

    This is not a moral issue–come on–nobody wants to hit someone. Why is BC making it about being more careful–BC: your signage sucks, and it doesn’t protect your workers. I’m from California, and was driving hwy 23 south a few days ago, and the signage was vague to say the least. The only obvious warning was a woman road construction worker with a stop sign in her hand. She was furious at me, and lambasted me for not being more careful. When I explained that I didn’t see a sign she rolled her eyes. I understand her frustration but the fact is there wasn’t a substantial enough warning for me to know what to anticipate. In California our road traffic construction signage is large and obvious. I don’t think a “cone zone” is universal, and risks putting workers in danger. I suggest putting more efforts into making larger signage with a clearer message i.e. “Prepare to stop in 100 meters”…or perhaps a large electronic sign that flashes…sticking a women out on a rural hwy with a stop sign is careless, and not a moral issue but a systemic one that bctrans needs to take responsibility for.

    • tranbceditor on August 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Barb,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. We are sorry to read of your experience, we agree that standard signage is important and that is why any traffic control personnel working on our highways must be certified and follow the Traffic Manual for work on Roadways which was created by our engineering group in conjunction with Worksafe BC. This manual specifies what signage must be used for a given worksite and follows industry best practices to ensure uniformity across the Province. We have passed your comments along to local district staff for follow up to ensure these standards were being met.

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