Cy­clist who gave up driv­ing wants road rules for cars and bikes alike

Ian Lem­mon says all types of traf­fic de­serve to be safe

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Sara.eric­s­

Buying a car is a mile­stone for many, but sell­ing his was an im­por­tant time for Ian Lem­mon, who now rides a bike ev­ery­where he goes.

Whether go­ing to work or to buy gro­ceries, Lem­mon goes ev­ery­where by bike and can­not get enough of his new life­style, cycling through­out all four sea­sons and in all kinds of weather.

It may seem dras­tic, but he swears it took just a few weeks to get used to, and it’s some­thing he plans to stick with, de­spite at­ti­tudes oth­ers have when see­ing him bike on the road.

“I’m traf­fic, and I want to get safely from home to work. It doesn’t mat­ter if I’m in a car, in a bus, on a bike, on my feet – I’ve got the same needs and de­sires as every­one else (who) wanted to get to work,” says Lem­mon.

Switch­ing gears

Lem­mon was pushed to give up bad habits af­ter notic­ing some ex­tra weight dur­ing the win­ter sea­son and how hard it was to breathe when he went for a ride on his bike.

Though a smoker for years, Lem­mon said the de­ci­sion be­came an easy one when he could barely bike and felt like he was suf­fo­cat­ing.

“It’s easy to get an­noyed with smok­ing when you can’t breathe,” he laughs.

“It’s an easy choice at that point, and I’m a mo­ti­vated guy – I like to ride hard and push my­self – and I wasn’t able to do that when I smoked, so I let it go.”

He sold his car in Novem­ber 2016 and in­vested in cycling equip­ment like a small trailer to help carry gro­cery loads, cycling jer­seys and other gear, like win­ter bi­cy­cle tires to be ready for all con­di­tions.

Lem­mon now owns six bikes, in­clud­ing one he’s cur­rently us­ing that he made a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions to af­ter pur­chas­ing it used for $50.

“It was just a mind­set for me. I tran­si­tioned my­self into dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing and was able to adapt bik­ing to my life­style with mi­nor ad­just­ments,” he says.

Lack of aware­ness

Lem­mon is – by his own def­i­ni­tion – what’s known as an ag­gres­sive cy­clist, mak­ing no ex­cuses as he rides on roads and avoids nar­row shoul­ders and large pot­holes.

He says he pushes hard and al­ways en­sures peo­ple know he’s there to avoid nasty run-ins, or run-overs, with cars.

When asked why cycling can be scary, he says there is a “list” of rea­sons, and they be­gin with how cars re­act when cy­clists don’t stick to side­walks or bike lanes when road con­di­tions re­quire it.

“To a cy­clist, they could be in­jury – ev­ery­thing is a more se­vere im­pact when you’re on a bike and not in­side a steel cage, but some driv­ers don’t get that,” he says.

With some mo­torists and cy­clists ap­pear to feel bit­ter af­ter such in­ci­dents, Lem­mon said dis­cus­sions on shar­ing road­ways, “of­ten de­volve into us ver­sus them – car ver­sus bike – and the re­al­ity is roads aren’t built for cars. Roads are built for peo­ple.”

“Whether you’re a car, bike, or pedes­trian, it’s all traf­fic, and peo­ple are just try­ing to get from point A to point B safely,” he says.

Feel­ing hope­ful

With the new pro­vin­cial Traf­fic Safety Act start­ing with pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions and set to hit the leg­isla­tive floor this fall, Lem­mon says he’s hope­ful such at­ti­tudes on both sides will change.

The new act will re­place the dated Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Act – first writ­ten in 1914 – and will con­tain new, up­dated rules stat­ing how roads are to be shared by all forms of traf­fic.

But this may not be enough, says Lem­mon, who be­lieves ed­u­ca­tion is the most im­por­tant step yet to be taken by the gov­ern­ment.

“That’s go­ing to be the big thing. We all want a new set of rules, but be­ing aware of those rules is cru­cial,” he says.

He hopes the new act uses clear lan­guage and shows cy­clists and mo­torists don’t have to be in ad­ver­sar­ial po­si­tions, and that if aware­ness is not a pri­or­ity, that in­vest­ments into in­fra­struc­ture to pro­mote safe cycling hap­pen.

“The younger gen­er­a­tions are mov­ing to ar­eas they don’t need a car, so this is some­thing we need to move for­ward with. At some point, the old es­tab­lish­ment is go­ing to have to ad­mit it, or get out of the way,” he said.


Ian Lem­mon sold his car nearly two years ago and rides a bi­cy­cle ev­ery­where. Whether heading to work or pick­ing up gro­ceries, he bikes to get to where he needs to go.

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