Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Misleading article on cycling?

I enjoy reading how cycling is developing in different countries, and I today read this interesting article on cycling in the Waterloo region of Canada.

The headine of the article shouts “cyclists at fault in majority of bike-vehicle collisions”. This is a shame, because most people will stop reading there, with their prejudices against cyclists intact. The article actually goes on to tackle the more useful issue of why cyclists are on the sidewalks in the first place (which leads to the proloferation of accidents) as it not exactly the most convenient place for someone to choose to cycle.

Eleanor McMahon, founder of the Ontario Share the Road Coalition, says “do you know why they ride on the sidewalks? Because they don’t feel safe riding on the roads.” The discussion moves on to the important point of education for cyclists and drivers, which is clearly a good step, although perhaps there should be more emphasis placed on education for drivers.

The article finishes up with a “year-round cyclist” giving his views. Sadly, the blame still seems to be on changing how cyclists behave. He states that bikes needs to be sold with quality lighting, “as in Europe” (really?!) rather than as an add on and then he suggests that having more cycling infrastructure that separates vehicles and bicycles is the way forward.

However, he goes on to the stronger point that ”legislation is needed that requires cars to stay at least one metre away from bicycles when passing”. This may sound a bit far fetched in the UK, and its enforceability may be another thing, but it is actually already a law in Nova Scotia.

I would rather 1.5 metres clearance but it is a step in the right direction…..in fact, on a morning cummute in London, a metre clearance from passing cars would be a luxury!

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