Sunday, 4 August 2013

Perspective Part two

In the Maple Ridge Times newspaper, dated 2013-07-30, in the opinion column Odd Thoughts by Bob GROENEVELD, page A6.
He wrote an OpEd piece titled Add cycling to learning cycle.
In it is said that cyclists need to learn to ride safely on the roads with cars and car drivers need to learn to operate with cyclists.  I think he wrote an excellent piece and I agree with most of what he said.
It is a good article and if you have a chance to take a read, I think its worth the time.
The local riding coalition members made reference to the piece on the advocacy web site. The writer didn't agree with him, but this is okay not everyone has to agree on everything.  Life would be dull if that were to happen.  I made comment, in reply and my comments were not received very well.
I believe that cars and bikes can co-exist on the roads when both sides respect the other and the riders do not over ride their abilities or go places they shouldn't.  I do believe that the roads are for both, and that those that can't ride on the busier roads should check and see how they can get to their destination on less travelled, slower speed roads that get them to where they want to be.  In CANADA we all know the roads were built for vehicles, four wheeled (and more) vehicles.  Road engineers didn't look at cyclists until the last 15 years, and then only because they had to, and only in a passing reference.  
I pointed out to the other writer that there is other ways to get to a destination by bike that may take you a little out of the way but not by much.  I also suggested that sidewalks are not for cyclists, with the caveat that young new riders can use them in their neighbourhoods until they gain confidence and can handle to less travelled roads, and separated bike paths.
I suggested that safe cycling is not to over ride your abilities, and to choose the route that gets you to where you want to go and how best to get there. These are just good techniques for safety and riding.  I also agreed with the OpEd piece that cyclists contravening the laws should be ticketed, as should the vehicle drivers contravening the rules of the road.
It was pointed out to me that bikes have the same rights to go where they wish, and I agree with that.  I was also advised that sidewalks can be used at anytime where the roads become to dangerous to ride on.  Also it was pointed out that basic safe driving principals shouldn't apply to bikes, such as riding on sidewalks, stopping at Stop Signs, wearing a bike helmet.
This is where we seriously part opinions.  I believe that cyclists must act as do other road users and be dealt with accordingly when caught. Stop Signs are put up for a reason and when not adhered with serious injury, or worse can and does occur.  Helmets save lives, and are not that expensive.  Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not bikes.  Most roads in this area have bike lanes next to the sidewalk along the road, on both sides that work just fine.
The Topic of this entry is PERSPECTIVE.  I view cycling safety as a must do, not a nice to do or do when it is convenient.  We can't pick and choose the laws we agree with and those we don't and follow them as we feel. It's great to be right, but do you want to be dead right. Is it worth it?, I suspect not in the grand scheme of things.
The safety cycling thing is not to over ride your abilities, not to ride where it is dangerous or you are putting your life at risk.  Being able to choose a route that will fill your needs and get you home and back, safely and in one piece.
Using your lights & reflectors both day and night, wearing vibrant reflective clothing, using proper signals.
One of the aspects of safe cycling is being able to find a route that works for you and your objectives.  Another portion that goes with shopping,using your bike is knowing how to safely load your goodies into your panniers.  That is a skill unto itself !!
Like I said in the beginning Perspective.

Thanks for stopping by, Safe Ride Home.


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