Cycling and the rules of the road

Grumpy cat

Bike safety could be a whole other topic for a new and different blog and sometimes I even think of starting such a blog. But I don’t.

(And yes, I know there are lots of rule disregarding cyclists. And yes, some of them ride dangerously. And yes, they ought to be ticketed too. Next.)

Don’t worry. I won’t let bikesafety take over this blog. But I’ve been riding more lately and I have some pet peeves I’d like to share.

First, there are the drivers who seem convinced that cyclists ought to ride single file. Really, we shouldn’t. We’re not required to by law and when the group is big enough riding double actually allows you to pass us more quickly.

Read Why cyclists ride two abreast.

“Riding two abreast allows the cyclists to legitimately ‘claim’ the lane they’re riding in, encouraging motorists to give them a wider berth, and it also makes for a shorter, quicker pass for the motorist.

Collingwood OPP Constable Piet Huyssen, who will be part of the OPP’s bike patrol in the community this summer, says the rules of the road in Ontario do not dictate that cyclists ride in single file — though that’s a commonly-held misconception among motorists.

The Highway Traffic Act specifies that cyclists must move as far to the right without compromising their safety, and that the overtaking motorist give cyclists sufficient room while passing.

“If (the double paceline) is done properly, and everyone leaves lots of space for each other, it should never be an issue,” he said.

The double paceline has also been proven to be safer, a point emphasized in recent legislative changes to bylaws in both Toronto and Ottawa.”

Second, it’s getting more and more difficult to make eye contact at intersections and 4 way stops as drivers get busier and busier. I used to complain about sunglasses and tinted windows. And then it was cell phones and texting. Now it’s smartphones. Yes, better to check your email or browse the web when stopped than when moving (and I know, I do it too) but please look around first for bikes. Note where they are and where they are going. Nod and smile and let the cyclists know they’ve been seen. It makes us happier and less nervous.

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