Cyclists also have to obey the rules of the road

Opinion Aug 21, 2017 by Mike Farwell Kitchener Post

The City of Kitchener is poised to take another step to make our streets safer for cyclists, and it’s high time that cyclists matched these efforts by taking personal safety more seriously.

A city committee voted this week to approve a report that recommends a reduction in speed limits where sharrows are present.

Sharrows are those green markings with white paint you see on the road to indicate you’re in an area commonly shared by cyclists, and reducing speed limits in those areas is a sound idea.

Not only does the lower speed limit draw even more driver attention to the presence of cyclists, but studies have shown that just a 10-kilometre-per-hour reduction in speed limits can drastically reduce the severity of injury caused if a car and cyclist do collide.

This is a common sense move on the part of Kitchener council and there’s sound evidence to back up the report. If I had a vote, it would most assuredly be a “yay.”

And if I had a vote on encouraging cyclists to exhibit better riding behaviour on those same roads, well, that would be a “yay” again.

Reduced speed limits on roads with sharrows are just the latest step on the part of the city to raise the level of safety for its cyclists. Trails have been improved, cycling infrastructure has been built up with dedicated bike lanes on some roads and the sharrows themselves were yet another positive step forward.

I want to live in a city that supports integrated and active transportation as much as I want to be an advocate for our cyclists. But the riders themselves are making it difficult to defend the bicycle’s place among the much larger and much faster moving vehicles on our roads.

It’s as common to see a cyclist hop up onto the sidewalk to get ahead of traffic when it suits them as it is uncommon to see them use a hand signal to indicate a turn.

My last four encounters with a cyclist have included a man riding down Weber Street with no hands on a busy Saturday afternoon; a boy riding along Fountain Street — also with no hands — texting; a man texting while riding with one hand on the wrong side of King Street; a man who crept past a waiting line of traffic at the corner of King and Water only to get to the front of the line … and proceed through the intersection, against the red light.

I know the relationship between bicycles and cars is strained at the best of times but I’ve also seen countless vehicles slow and leave plenty of room to allow safe passage for a cyclist. My most recent encounters prevent me from looking at cyclists in the same courteous light.

It’s time for cyclists to encourage their fellow riders to obey the rules of the road and behave like the vehicles they wish to be treated as.

If riders devoted as much energy to this as they devote to advocating for more cycling infrastructure, the roads would be safer for us all.

Cyclists also have to obey the rules of the road

Opinion Aug 21, 2017 by Mike Farwell Kitchener Post

The City of Kitchener is poised to take another step to make our streets safer for cyclists, and it’s high time that cyclists matched these efforts by taking personal safety more seriously.

A city committee voted this week to approve a report that recommends a reduction in speed limits where sharrows are present.

Sharrows are those green markings with white paint you see on the road to indicate you’re in an area commonly shared by cyclists, and reducing speed limits in those areas is a sound idea.

Not only does the lower speed limit draw even more driver attention to the presence of cyclists, but studies have shown that just a 10-kilometre-per-hour reduction in speed limits can drastically reduce the severity of injury caused if a car and cyclist do collide.

This is a common sense move on the part of Kitchener council and there’s sound evidence to back up the report. If I had a vote, it would most assuredly be a “yay.”

And if I had a vote on encouraging cyclists to exhibit better riding behaviour on those same roads, well, that would be a “yay” again.

Reduced speed limits on roads with sharrows are just the latest step on the part of the city to raise the level of safety for its cyclists. Trails have been improved, cycling infrastructure has been built up with dedicated bike lanes on some roads and the sharrows themselves were yet another positive step forward.

I want to live in a city that supports integrated and active transportation as much as I want to be an advocate for our cyclists. But the riders themselves are making it difficult to defend the bicycle’s place among the much larger and much faster moving vehicles on our roads.

It’s as common to see a cyclist hop up onto the sidewalk to get ahead of traffic when it suits them as it is uncommon to see them use a hand signal to indicate a turn.

My last four encounters with a cyclist have included a man riding down Weber Street with no hands on a busy Saturday afternoon; a boy riding along Fountain Street — also with no hands — texting; a man texting while riding with one hand on the wrong side of King Street; a man who crept past a waiting line of traffic at the corner of King and Water only to get to the front of the line … and proceed through the intersection, against the red light.

I know the relationship between bicycles and cars is strained at the best of times but I’ve also seen countless vehicles slow and leave plenty of room to allow safe passage for a cyclist. My most recent encounters prevent me from looking at cyclists in the same courteous light.

It’s time for cyclists to encourage their fellow riders to obey the rules of the road and behave like the vehicles they wish to be treated as.

If riders devoted as much energy to this as they devote to advocating for more cycling infrastructure, the roads would be safer for us all.

Cyclists also have to obey the rules of the road

Opinion Aug 21, 2017 by Mike Farwell Kitchener Post

The City of Kitchener is poised to take another step to make our streets safer for cyclists, and it’s high time that cyclists matched these efforts by taking personal safety more seriously.

A city committee voted this week to approve a report that recommends a reduction in speed limits where sharrows are present.

Sharrows are those green markings with white paint you see on the road to indicate you’re in an area commonly shared by cyclists, and reducing speed limits in those areas is a sound idea.

Not only does the lower speed limit draw even more driver attention to the presence of cyclists, but studies have shown that just a 10-kilometre-per-hour reduction in speed limits can drastically reduce the severity of injury caused if a car and cyclist do collide.

This is a common sense move on the part of Kitchener council and there’s sound evidence to back up the report. If I had a vote, it would most assuredly be a “yay.”

And if I had a vote on encouraging cyclists to exhibit better riding behaviour on those same roads, well, that would be a “yay” again.

Reduced speed limits on roads with sharrows are just the latest step on the part of the city to raise the level of safety for its cyclists. Trails have been improved, cycling infrastructure has been built up with dedicated bike lanes on some roads and the sharrows themselves were yet another positive step forward.

I want to live in a city that supports integrated and active transportation as much as I want to be an advocate for our cyclists. But the riders themselves are making it difficult to defend the bicycle’s place among the much larger and much faster moving vehicles on our roads.

It’s as common to see a cyclist hop up onto the sidewalk to get ahead of traffic when it suits them as it is uncommon to see them use a hand signal to indicate a turn.

My last four encounters with a cyclist have included a man riding down Weber Street with no hands on a busy Saturday afternoon; a boy riding along Fountain Street — also with no hands — texting; a man texting while riding with one hand on the wrong side of King Street; a man who crept past a waiting line of traffic at the corner of King and Water only to get to the front of the line … and proceed through the intersection, against the red light.

I know the relationship between bicycles and cars is strained at the best of times but I’ve also seen countless vehicles slow and leave plenty of room to allow safe passage for a cyclist. My most recent encounters prevent me from looking at cyclists in the same courteous light.

It’s time for cyclists to encourage their fellow riders to obey the rules of the road and behave like the vehicles they wish to be treated as.

If riders devoted as much energy to this as they devote to advocating for more cycling infrastructure, the roads would be safer for us all.