Archive for March, 2012

March 17, 2012

An appeal to cyclists….

So what’s going on out there? As a cyclist I am well aware that there is a struggle going on for use of our public streets between cars and bicycles.While Toronto is pretty supportive of cycling, the weight of public opinion still seems to be in favour of cars when there is a choice between road usage.

So why would cyclists want to further piss off public opinion by acting like idiots? I ask this because either there is some current obsession with wining a Darwin award or a great number of cyclists are socially impaired.

Not a day goes by when I don’t see a cyclist rudely and dangerously ignoring all common sense and courtesy. Let me first point out, though, that I do ride through stop signs (after checking that it is safe to do so and that I am not inconveniencing anyone who has the right of way, yes, even a car). I also ride the wrong way on one way side streets (never a main street) because I think those one ways are made to protect neighbourhoods from car traffic and not the occasional cyclist.

But whipping through a stop sign when a car is forced to slam on their brakes to not hit you, or riding the wrong way up a street in the middle of the road so a car cannot proceed in the lawful direction is just asking for trouble. And don’t get me started on cyclists who ride on sidewalks and imperil pedestrians.

Unfortunately although cycling is superior to driving in so many ways (healthier, less pollution, often faster…) the people riding those cycles are too often morally inferior.

A friend of mine feels that the reason so many cyclists are so stupid is because they don’t have drivers licenses and so have never learned the proper rules of the road. I don’t know if that’s true. I think most cyclists likely have drivers licenses, but I really don’t know. Whatever the explanation these acts of public vandalism are hurting our cause and putting people at risk.

I don’t think cyclists should toady to the car driving neanderthals like the Brothers Ford, but in any political battle one has to pick their fights and one has to strategize. Why piss off bystanders?

Of course there is also the simple argument of courtesy and respect for our neighbours. Why would you cut someone off on your bicycle if someone doing the same thing to you would piss you off? It certainly has taken away my sense of solidarity with other cyclists.


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