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May 24, 2010

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Transity Cyclist

Jim,

You've largely misinterpreted the most important arguments against you. Yes, cars are here to stay, but so are bikes. Your previous article suggested that you were against any new safety regulations and etiquette requirements, and this is absolutely an unacceptable attitude on any roads (if you hate driving safely near other road users, particularly vulnerable ones, I can't understand why you should be allowed to drive). And if there's no space to pass 3 ft for a cyclist, then don't pass, and suck it up! Bicycles are here to stay, and will continue to grow! Change the whole lane like a regular vehicle, that's already the law!

Joe

Hi Jim,

Not all cyclists are extreme and fanatical. Toronto is not Copenhagen nor Amsterdam, you are right. Bikes do belong on roads though... and we should abide by rules the same as car drivers should.

If we all play by the rules and make sure everyone is safe, then drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users will live much more happily together.

John Spragge

...where to begin.

First of all, enough of us have gotten hit on the roads by motorists who "didn't see" us that few cyclists will accept a driver's estimate of the number of cyclists on the roads. When I bike, drive, or walk, I see plenty of cyclists at all times of the year. Certainly, at some times and places, cars outnumber bicycles, but it doesn't mean that cars overall outnumber bicycles, and even if it did, it wouldn't mean motorists have a right to assault or threaten cyclists.

Your correspondent asked where in the charter the right to cycle appears. It appears in section seven (life, liberty and security of the person), and section nine (prohibition of arbitrary detention. Section nine actually upholds the oldest of common law rights, and implies access to public space as a right, not a privilege. Security of the person arises in two forms: since the government necessarily regulates traffic, they have a responsibility under article seven to regulate it so as to protect vulnerable road users against people who think the "car always wins". In addition, the known debilitating and life-shortening effects of a sedentary and automobile-centric lifestyle make government efforts to promote it a violation of both the right to life and the right to security of the person.

Luke Ventura

... and on the Don Valley Parkway, cyclists are outnumbered by cars by a ratio of infinity to zero. What's your point?

Go look at Bloor Street, College, or Queen, you will see thousands of cyclists, all day, all night, all year round.

Then go look at the staff bike cages at the hospitals and office buildings in the central business district. I counted over 200 bikes at one hospital's staff lot. You might find this hard to accept, but these doctors and nurses are no less important to society than, say, car journalists.

Cars aren't going anywhere, but neither are bikes. You either give them a bike lane, or you kill yourself trying to overtake them, colliding with oncoming traffic in the process. It's your choice.

Ilija Petrovski

JIM: "Well folks, the REALITY is, Toronto is NOT Copenhagen or Amsterdam, and never will be, not in our lifetimes."
REALITY: Toronto CAN be Copenhagen or Amsterdam if people like you help the way. Way of future! Current TO way is not sustainable. Average travel to and from work in TO...I will not even go there.

JIM: "The REALITY is that cars outnumber bikes - what, 10,000 to one? 100,000 to one? On the Avenue Road hill south of St. Clair in February, maybe a million to NONE?"
REALITY: Also on Hwy 401, Don Valley, Hwy 400... . What was the point of this?

JIM: "The REALITY is, cars are not going away."
REALITY: Nor the bikes. Reality will argue, given SAFE INFRASTRUCTURE bikes may grow faster as transportation tool (majority don't love cars, just use cars out of NECESSITY). Specially downtown. Case in point are major European cities. You traveled! You should know better.

JIM: "The REALITY is, cars outweigh bikes by what - 40 to one?"
REALITY: Maybe even more. That is why getting to work for average Torontonian is probably the longest trip on the this continent. You still think status quo is good idea?

JIM: "The REALITY is that the danger is caused by car drivers, not bikers."
REALITY: 100% correct. And then cyclist are left for dead on the side of the road. Top layer in Ontario gets away with killing a cyclist (OJ at least got in front of a judge). Public voices like yours tell cyclists to ride on their own driveways or else, which in return justifies drivers to drive their cars cm's away from cyclists handlebars. In which case doesn't matter how TIGHT THE GRIP IS!

Tom

Jim, jim, jim...

You are digging a deeper hole for yourself.

All of your "REALITY" points only reinforce the previous responses.

Yes, cars are not going away. Yes, cars are heavier than bikes. And, yes, the danger is caused by cars.

With those points in mind, the proposed law is even more important.

Stephen Pynenburg

Mr Kenzie,
I agree that the law is probably unnecessary, as it essentially tacks a number (for distance) on to the existing provision. Why I think you were 'flamed' was because of your seemingly unrelated attack on cyclists as being dangerous. Of course, having read today's post, I'm not entirely sure that you're sure you meant that...
May 23:
"But it does show that cyclists really don't understand how dangerous what they do is.

Why should their risk-taking impinge on the rest of us?"

May 24:
"The REALITY is that the danger is caused by car drivers, not bikers.

Of course it is. Who ever said anything different? Come on, people - how are we going to have a decent argument if you keep making MY points??"

--Stephen P.

Stephen Pynenburg

P.S. I just noticed the title - no pun intended, I'm sure ;)

Gord Irish

Perhaps we should have started with the question, how big a problem is this?
Looking at some stats from Transport Canada and the NHTSA over the last 10-15 years, cyclists make up about 2% of all traffic fatalities. That is pretty small but on a per km travelled basis it's not quite so good, I doubt cyclist make up 2% of the kms travelled. However, it is way better than pedestrians, who make up 10-15% of traffic fatalities, depending on year and locale, and most certainly don't makeup 10-15 of kms travelled.

As for cycling being high risk, well okay, but just hope the cyclist doesn't get off his/her bike and start walking, that's at least 5 times more dangerous. Or get in a car, where the other 80% of fatalities occur.

Do we need more laws to protect cyclists? At 2% of traffic fatalities, I doubt it, if anything let's look at pedestrians first, they are much more at risk

RP

Jim, what you say about bikes - for example
The REALITY is, cars outweigh bikes by what - 40 to one?
The REALITY is that the danger is caused by car drivers, not bikers.
etc.

Would it be acceptable if you said that about mothers and their baby carriages on the very same roads?
I think not.

While I'm not condoning irresponsible behaviour on the part of cyclists, car drivers have as much a responsibility to drive safely as any other vehicle on the road. What happened to shared responsibility?

Robert Schultz

Jim:

What exactly is your issue with modifying an existing law to provide drivers with guidelines for passing cyclists or other vulnerable road users? I can tell you from experience that many drivers have a much different view on a safe distance than I have while driving or riding.

What is about being in a car that makes us so inconsiderate of other people?

Here's my plan for improving the situation on the road:

At the end of your driving exam, the student is asked to get out of the vehicle and start walking down the side of a dry, dusty gravel road. Then the instructor takes the student's car and drives past the student at 80kph showering them with dust and gravel. Then the student gets on a bike, and the instructor again bombs past the student within a few feet.

Once drivers have a better understanding of what it's like on the other side of the equation, hopefully they'll become more considerate.

And for you Jim, I have a proposal. I have a tandem. If you're uncomfortable venturing out on the roads by yourself, I'll gladly offer to take you. I'm in Milton, so it's no trouble whatsoever :-). I think once you've experienced being passed by a dually pickup driver who won't cross the yellow line, you might change your opinion.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Robert:

Thanks for the offer, but I already know how dangerous it is! I have no desire whatsoever to be challenged by that dually driver, which is why I don't want ANY of my biking friends on the roads with people like that. Your idea of changing the licencing procedure is intriguing and might even help, but it isn't gonna happen.

Jim Kenzie

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