I'd like to thank all my correspondents - commenters here in the blog and e-mailers from the print edition - for sharing my concern about cyclist safety.
Obviously, contrary to some of the angrier responses, I do not want to kill all cyclists. My newlywed daughter and her husband both bought new bikes just last weekend - I want both of them, and all of you bikeys, to be as safe as possible.
Equally obviously, some of us disagree on how best to maximize the objectives we all share.
But I'd prefer to focus on what is agreed among us.
One (typical) response from a bikey contained the sentence:
"Cycling is dangerous because so many motorists have a bad attitude towards cyclists and view them as being inferior road users and a nuisance factor."
But as I have said before herein, how can we have a decent argument if we agree on everything??
Our editor's column in this past weekend's print edition outlined his personal experience with just such a driver.
What is sad, yet almost charming in a naïve, near-childlike-innocence sort of way, is how so many cyclists seem to believe that these motorists can be changed, that passing a law like the one proposed by Ms DiNovo can correct their behaviour.
Ain't gonna happen.
Our governments have shown no interest whatsoever in improving driver training in any of the myriad of ways in which it needs improving, or in toughening licensing procedures in this province.
And as another cyclist pointed out here a few days ago, cyclists themselves are subject to no licencing whatsoever, either for their vehicles or themselves.
So how is this improved behaviour going to come about?
Our editor feels that giving the police a definite measurement which would allow them to charge a motorist with no room for error will help.
Not a chance. Anyone who has tried to defend himself against a traffic violation and has had to deal with police testimony knows how that's going to turn out...
Some cyclists almost seem to revel in challenging car drivers, insisting on taking their 'space' from the middle of the lane and forcing car drivers to go around them.
They say that is their 'right'.
It's a privelege, not a right, but let's move on...
But car drivers have a steel cage around them. They have seat belts. They have air bags.
Cyclists - some of them anyway - wear plastic helmets.
Doesn’t sound like a fair fight to me.
You can pass a law demanding that scorpions have to stay four feet away from humans.
But if you go walking barefoot in the desert...
The scorpion might be breaking the law.
But you go home in a body bag.
From an overall safety perspective, it obviously makes far more sense for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk than on the road. Bike-into-pedestrian will cause far less damage than car-into-bike.
That's not gonna happen either, because that would be trying to apply logic to a situation where logic clearly does not apply.
Above-mentioned daughter asked me, "Well, how DO we ride safely? What IS the answer?"
To me, the answer is as obvious as everything else surrounding this issue - it can NOT be done safely.
If you want to ride your bicycle in Toronto traffic, you are taking a terrible risk, and I'm afraid there simply isn't a whole lot you can do about it.
Except avoid it at all costs.