Comment 65609

By Mr Meister (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 08:25:14

If I accept your article at face value and cycling is as safe as walking or taking a shower than there is absolutely no reason to increase fines or other punishments to drivers, or to change anything at all. I and most others reading this article will not accept such comments at face value.

Why the great opposition to wearing a helmet. Cycling helmets are very much like seatbelts. They both came to us from the racing world. Ask a competitive bicycle racer to ride with out a helmet and he would laugh at you, just like an automobile racer would. I remember all the whining and complaining about seatbelts when they were mandated so many years ago. It sounded then just like your article sounds now with statements like "Beyond the chance of a helmet actually causing physical injury (and I freely admit that it is just a chance)...."
If you knew that when you were out on your bike you were going to be involved in an accident of some kind and there was nothing you could do about it would you not rather be wearing a helmet than not? Wearing a helmet when cycling ( or skateboarding or rollerblading or any other high speed activity) is the single, simplest thing anyone can do to help themselves in case of an accident. Helmets like seatbelts do not, in fact can not, reduce the chances of an accident. Preventing accidents is a totally different question and does not belong in this discussion.

Reducing collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists will take a re-education of both sides. Both side have an abundance of concerns with the actions of the others. Cyclist should be doing everything they can do to avoid a collision with a vehicle because no matter who is at fault the cyclist will lose. When I am walking I always check for traffic when I cross the road because even if I have the right of way, I would rather wait for a car to do something illegal and clear the intersection than be right and get hit. The driver might face a fine or even imprisonment but none of that will help the cyclist (or pedestrian) if they are dead or worse. Yes, I really believe there are things worse than dyeing. Unfortunately in the 3 accidents that come to mind involving a vehicle and cyclist the cyclist was not doing that in 2 of them. The accident on U. James were the cyclist was on the sidewalk and drove into the side of a vehicle turning into a gas station. The young cyclist who blew through a red light on James Sth and ran into a vehicle. The other young lad who was hit and dragged by a car on Limeridge Rd. Only is this last case does it seem the driver was totally at fault. If not for the initial collision than at a bare minimum for failing to stop and dragging him afterwards.

A comprehensive network of bicycle lanes is the single best thing that can happen to make cycling safer. A pet peeve of mine is Main St. W. at the university. The whole street was redone recently and we have 6 lanes of traffic plus turn lanes at not a single bike lane anywhere. There are a lot of students who bike to McMaster. They have put bike lanes on Sterling (which disappear at King) but not on the much busier Main St. As the city proceeds with roadwork they should be looking at incorporating bike lanes wherever and whenever possible.

Even as that happens cyclist should be wearing a helmet if not for their own sake then for those that love them.

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