Today, I am ashamed to be a cycling enthusiast
Do not blow stop signs, it demeans all of us
Dear Cyclists of Hamilton:
As a fellow cyclist, I get the lure of the road. I can’t wait for that first warm dry day in early spring that I can take my bike off its trainer and out onto the road.
I have cycled great distances and know the camaraderie that exists when we cycle together for an evening, for a weekend fundraiser like Ride to Conquer cancer, or across the country.
I have bragged about saddle sores after a century-ride like they were my trophies.
And nothing beats the exhilaration of conquering that mountain or dipping weather-beaten tires in the Atlantic Ocean after spending weeks in the saddle.
But today I am ashamed to be considered one of you.
I just started teaching my oldest son the rules of cycling on the road. Every time I take him out, even for a short distance in our rural Hamilton neighbourhood, that maternal protective fear surfaces and I am afraid some ignorant or distracted motorist will hit him.
But on the night of July 11, as I was driving home, I almost became the motorist that killed an ignorant cyclist.
Sir, if you are by any chance reading this and wondering if you were that cyclist who blew through that all-way stop at Fiddlers Green/Jerseyville Road and saw an angry woman blaring on her horn with a vehicle full of children, you should be thankful I saw you.
It was completely my right to go through that intersection, but I caught a glimpse of you coming up behind a vehicle turning right. Just before I accelerated, I thought to myself, “He’s not stopping.” And sure enough, there you went, without a pause, right through the all-way stop.
If I had not been paying attention beyond that treed intersection, I could have killed you.
And I would have to live with that. My children would have to live with that traumatic memory. A man struck down right before their eyes.
I am not a perfect driver. I am not a perfect cyclist. But I try my best to respect everyone on the road.
I would like to say this was my first time experiencing something like this. The truth is, it happens too often. Just earlier the same week, a cyclist decided not to wait their proper place at a stoplight on the corner of Fiddlers Green and Garner Road, an intersection without a bike lane. I watched the cyclist scoot illegally along the right side of the vehicles but when the light turned green, the cyclist nearly got clipped by a vehicle turning right.
Cyclists, what is your problem? We fight for the right to share the road but so many of you give us a bad name! When we are on the road, we are considered vehicles. Yes, we are entitled to one metre on the right side of the road, but that means we follow motorist rules.
If it’s a little foggy for you, maybe it’s time for a CAN-BIKE refresher. Or perhaps you’ve never bothered to take the time to learn the rules?
Maybe cyclists should be regulated just like motorists, requiring them to obtain licences that can be revoked.
Perhaps it is idealistic to wish the road was a safer place. Dreamer or not, it’s time for many Hamilton cyclists to smarten up.
Cyclists, what is your problem? We fight for the right to share the road but so many of you give us a bad name!