Cy­clist aware­ness

Annapolis Valley Register - - COVER STORY - FROM CALL­ING A1 Sara.eric­s­son@kingscountynews.ca

“If you’ve ever been brushed by a car or trac­tor – some­times even had things thrown at you – it’s not a very good feel­ing,” said Mcdougall.

Even when cars don’t fol­low the min­i­mum one me­tre gap they’re sup­posed to al­low cy­clists as they pass, no tick­ets or fines seem to be handed out, noted Mcdougall.

“I can’t re­call a time, ever, that some­one got a fine or charge out of some­thing like this,” said Harvie.

And proper en­force­ment means en­forc­ing rules that ap­ply to all road users – in­clud­ing cy­clists, said Lem­mon, who wants them held ac­count­able too.

“If a cy­clist makes a vi­o­la­tion, then they too de­serve a con­se­quence. It’s got to be equal and fair,” he said.

The big­gest bar­rier

All four cy­clists listed aware­ness as the big­gest is­sue fac­ing cy­clists in Nova Sco­tia and the big­gest chal­lenge to safe cycling. They want to see the new act take mea­sures to bet­ter ed­u­cate the gen­eral pub­lic on the rules of shar­ing the road.

Each re­counted in­ci­dents where driv­ers yelled – some­times even get­ting out of their car to do so – to get off the road.

“We are traf­fic, same as you, and there’s al­ways this divide be­tween both groups. The bot­tom line is that ac­cess to roads is a priv­i­lege that we both share a right to, along with other types of traf­fic,” said Lem­mon.

Banks said that while a ru­ral con­text could be to blame for a lack of aware­ness that cy­clists too are al­lowed on roads, the prob­lem per­sists in more ur­ban ar­eas as well, and there­fore comes down to ed­u­ca­tion.

Mcdougall agreed, say­ing in coun­tries like Spain, where cy­clists are more preva­lent, cars know­ing to yield as they pass is a di­rect re­sult of in­creas­ing aware­ness.

“Many here don’t ride bikes, and that’s fine, but they do need to re­spect the fact there are peo­ple out there that this is their main mode of trans­porta­tion, and they need to be able to get from work to home safely,” said Harvie.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Colin Banks, owner of Banks Bikes, says mak­ing it le­gal for cy­clists to ride two-up, mean­ing be­side an­other cy­clist in a group set­ting, makes pass­ing large groups shorter, and there­fore safer.

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