Comment 76051

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted April 19, 2012 at 07:39:47

Standard disclaimer: I bike everyday; I bike to work, to the shops, for general errands; I regularly bike around the West end and from Dundas through to the East end of downtown.

A majority of the cyclists in the West end - that is, McMaster students, for the most part - ride in open violation of the rules of the road: most run stop signs, ofttimes when there are cars already waiting; many ride on the sidewalk, some even on Sterling with its bike lanes; quite a few will blow through cross walks when pedestrians are waiting. Yes, drivers pull French stops and don't signal turns sometimes, but at nothing like the rate at which cyclists violate the law.

And it's these violations of the law which make cyclists unpredictable - one never knows what they're going to do*. A significant minority - if not a majority - of cyclists in this town do not behave like traffic. And I don't mean "like cars", I just mean like predictable, grown-up traffic.

The most important thing that Hamilton can do to make cycling more popular and safer (the two go hand in hand, as Ryan has explained repeatedly) is to put in better infrastructure so that there are more cyclists on the road. I'm not suggesting that train-and-blame is the way to go. But I do wish we would stop pretending that cyclists blow through stop signs and hop on and off the sidewalk and turn without warning because they somehow are forced to by our car-centric roads - it degrades our credibility.

We treat cyclists like children and many cyclists expect to be accorded a child's lack of responsibility and freedom from strictures. And then we offer excuses for the poor dears.

* I confess that I sometimes get some petty amusement out of stopping at a stop sign and signalling my turn and then watching a driver - who has the right of way - just sit there waiting for me to do ... I don't know what they expect, but they are clearly puzzled by a stopped cyclists with his arm out.

Comment edited by moylek on 2012-04-19 07:52:10

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