Friday, December 2, 2011

A Note to Cyclists

The biggest obstacle a cyclists faces out on the road is themselves.
We live in Canada where almost half of the year there is snow and ice on the ground, so it makes sense that there will always be more cars on the road at any given time then cyclists.
And as far as I'm concerned, bike lanes on major roads in Toronto are not the answer.
What is then?
Common sense.
Cyclists and cars have to learn to share the road and it all starts with the cyclist. They have to obey the rules of the road. That means not blowing through stop signs, riding the wrong way on one way streets, weaving through traffic, ignoring cars making left hand turns or any other such stupidity that happens countless times each day. Do that and I guarantee you, people in cars will be much more receptive to sharing the road with you.
I know drivers aren't much better, but here's the thing, they are driving cars which have four wheels, is made of steel, and weighs almost a ton. When it collides with a cyclist guess who wins? The car. EVERY TIME.
The problem as I see it, is how we interact together on the road.
Cyclists have to be extra careful out on the roads, that unfortunately is just the reality of the situation. Just by sheer volume alone, the odds are already stacked against you when you cycle on city streets. By disobeying the rules of the road, you put yourself at a higher risk of being injured while out there.
If you are out on the road, take the lane, you have every right to be there, but its up to you, the cyclist, to be wary of the hazards that surround you. If you act like a car, by making yourself visible, making eye contact with other drivers on the road, and following the rules of the road, you stand a better chance of making it to your destination in one piece.
I'm not saying there shouldn't be bike lanes out there, just not on major roadways in this city. There are better alternatives, such as lanes on side roads with lighter traffic or in green spaces (like hydro field corridors or like they have through the Don Valley).
And I'm not saying there aren't drivers out there that are complete idiots, because there are tons of those as well.
What I am saying is this, its up to you as a cyclist to set the tone out there.
Show a little respect, and most drivers will return the favour in kind. Ride like and idiot and drivers will react like idiots and its usually the cyclist who will suffer the consequences. In the end, it won't matter who was right or wrong, the results will always be the same, the car will win.
So as a driver who also happens to be an avid cyclist, I simply ask you to please, take your time out there, obey the rules of the road, and it will go a long way to ensuring you arrive at your destination safely.

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