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Cyclists need to toe the line

The Peace Arch News: Cyclists need to toe the line

By Frank Fourchalk - Peace Arch News

Published: January 05, 2010 10:00 AM
Updated: January 05, 2010 10:29 AM

Bicycling is a fun activity for many reasons.

It gives you a sense of freedom, a sense of one with the environment and can give you a glimpse into your past, when stress and responsibility were minimized, to say the least.

Cycling improves your fitness and your health. It can strengthen your immune system, lower blood cholesterol, reduce stress, strengthen the heart and increase your energy levels.

But cycling can also be hazardous to your health, especially if you’re an "aggressive cyclist."

These are the people who think they own the road. They don’t obey traffic laws, they ride in the middle of the road and seem to glory in passing vehicles in heavy traffic.

You often find this person riding on sidewalks, running stop signs or red lights. These characters present a serious danger to the public and need to be cracked down on before somebody gets injured or causes an accident.

Often you’ll see vehicles sway to the left to avoid a collision with a cyclist who outright refuses to stay to the right.

Now, I realize bike enthusiasts claim cyclists should ride further to the left.

They claim that when a driver is looking down the road at the traffic, he’s not looking in the bike lane or the area closest to the curb. They say a motorist looks in the middle of the lane for other cars.

So their reasoning is that the farther left you are, the more likely the driver will see you.

But what about the safety of the driver? Does the motorist have to swerve into oncoming traffic, just so he or she can maintain the posted speed?

Or should he slow down and crawl along for blocks until the cyclist decides to make a left or right turn?

It appears, at times, that motorists are at the mercy of the cyclist.

Just the other day, I was crawling behind what appeared to be a mother in tow. I’m sure you’ve seen the bicycle enthusiast pulling a trailer. If you look close enough you’ll see tiny tots in the back of these flimsy danger mobiles.

What is with these people? Can’t parents leave their children in the care of friends or loved ones while they pedal through dangerous traffic?

Isn’t it our parental responsibility to keep our children safe and secure? Then why are parents playing a game of Russian roulette with their children’s lives?

Riding through busy traffic with young ones sitting in the back of a fragile buggy doesn’t spell "responsible" to me.

How ironic. For years adults have been teaching their youngsters not to play in traffic, but as soon as somebody invents something the least bit trendy, out go the rules.

The point being, there’s a certain amount of risk involved in cycling on today’s streets.

And even though I feel bicyclists and especially cyclists pulling baby buggies need to restrict themselves to quieter, less busy streets, I realize they have rights, too.

Historically most fatal accidents occur when the cyclist is "driving without due care" followed closely by "failing to yield the right of way."

So let’s respect each other on the road – and show a little courtesy – so that we and our families can stay safe in our community.