National Post

Bicyclists are no angels!


Re: Bicyclists are no angels, Tom Blackwell, Oct. 21

As a lifetime Toronto resident who walks, cycles and drives, I completely agree with Tom Blackwell on the aggressive hordes of cyclists dashing around our streets and on our sidewalks. I was almost knocked over this week on the Casa Loma hill when a young woman sped by me on the sidewalk, earplugs in and no warning. It could have been a terrible accident f or both of us. There’s also the menace of cyclists without lights and helmets. Nor are cyclists are alone in their bad behaviour. Many pedestrian­s take significan­t risks by crossing the street without checking for cars or bikes, based on the false assumption that they always have the right of way even when doing a fullon mid-street jaywalk.

Could this problem could be helped by teaching everyone, i. e. cyclists and pedestrian­s and drivers, the rules of the road? Many people t oday do not know how to drive a car, and therefore have not learned these rules. Therefore they have no sense of how the street should operate or what it takes a driver to react to the sudden and unexpected appearance of cyclist or pedestrian. Perhaps a regular campaign of PSA announceme­nts by the city on the rules of the road through a variety of media would educate us all, reducing poor road behaviour and accidents. Kate Rounthwait­e, Toronto Tom Blackwell ’ s ar t i cl e struck all the right chords for me, including his reference to “licences.” As a youngster growing up during the Second World War years in Winnipeg, it would have been unheard of to have ridden one’s bicycle without a licence.

This was true i n most parts of Canada. One also had to go to the local school yard where a police officer made sure you knew all the rules of the road before you could get a licence. Today this i mportant means of transporta­tion using ( sometimes abusing) city streets ( and sidewalks) is the only vehicle I can think which of which is not registered with a “paid- for licence” and test for competence.

One must ask why — which I’ve done often and can’t think of one reason why bicycle owners/riders have this privilege. Could the National Post start a debate on this subject amongst its readers? K. R. Wright, Cambridge, Ont. Finally someone daring to speak what everyone thinks and knows. The bicycle culture is totally out of control. One only need look at London, England, for a perfect model in terms of how to deal with bicyclists. Dedicated bicycle lanes that are protected from motorists, bicycle super highways establishe­d as streets dedicated to bicycles only, lights, signs, curbs, etc. A connection of bicycle streets that allow cyclists to traverse a huge city safely without creating havoc.

London city politician­s made the commitment to do the right thing unafraid to commit funds to do so. City politician­s here pay lip-service to the bicycle culture by painting lines/lanes, creating very few protected bicycle lanes and even fewer dedicated streets. So long as city politician­s are committed to only the cheapest approach to bicycle safety no progress will ever be made.

Last and perhaps most important is that bicyclists need to be l i censed and regulated. However, this is extremely unlikely since politician­s are more concerned about getting re-elected than doing the right thing. Lorne Werbenuk, Ottawa Tom Blackwell is right. Cyclists are not angels. Neither are drivers or pedestrian­s. The list of transgress­ions taking place daily in the city of Toronto is long. We accept many of these problems without thinking.

Simple practices would help ameliorate the problems.

To drivers and cyclists: Stop at red lights. Stay off the phone. Be predictabl­e. Do not weave. Have proper lighting. Earbuds limit situationa­l awareness. Pay attention. Remember that red lights do not mean that three cars make left turns before cross traffic commences. Signal turns and lane changes.

To pedestrian­s: Entering t he c r osswalk with six seconds on the countdown is illegal, dangerous and prevents cars from turning. Stay off the phone while in the street. Be predictabl­e. Be visible. Again, earbuds limit situationa­l awareness.

To the Toronto Police Service: selective enforcemen­t yields selective observance.

To the city: Cyclists, cars and pedestrian­s compete for the same real estate. Even with good intentions, problems are inevitable. Safety must trump traffic flow. Rabbi Sean Gorman, Toronto

 ?? JACK BOLAND / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILES ?? Tom Blackwell’s “Bicyclists are no angels” column sparked reaction from National Post readers.
JACK BOLAND / POSTMEDIA NEWS FILES Tom Blackwell’s “Bicyclists are no angels” column sparked reaction from National Post readers.

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