Montréal is a city with its fair share of self-entitled whiners. Chief among those would have to be cyclists. Not all but enough of them to make the news, either through protesting perceived injustice (!) or because one of them ended up on the wrong side of a vehicle.
Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely feel that cycling is a terrific form of transportation. Non-polluting, efficient and darn healthy. It is the cyclists I see very day that caused me to wish them flat tires and bike saddle sores. Contrary to what the cycling lobbyists want you to believe – “Cyclists are victimized and put-upon by motor vehicles and are safety conscious…just trying to share the roads, peacefully” – the vast majority and yes, the VAST majority are about as safety conscious as your average 2-year old.
Every single day, I share the road with half a dozen regular cyclist and out of that number? One wears a helmet and the, IMO, gross biking apparel. (Nobody needs to see your ass-sweat after a long day of work.) And he, on Sources Blvd. during the end of day traffic and rush – CONSISTENTLY ignores red lights and chooses to NOT use the designated bike path – instead, uses a car lane. Apparently, he is above the traffic/road laws. He wears bike gear so red lights and and green turn signals don’t apply to him. I once saw him almost get taken out by a car turning right, on a green, right turn, light because he was going straight but did not have the right to do so. He screamed at the driver…something about his kids and having the right to get home to them. Yeah..okay.
A few days ago, while driving to work – I was making a right turn on St. John Fisher Rd, onto Broadview, in Pointe-Claire, where I observed a young woman, on a bike, no helmet and earbuds. She was, I gather, trying to find that all-important-playlist and her hands were not on the handlebars. She swerved into the path of the car in front of me and right in front of the car behind her, of which, she was unaware. She saw and heard nothing. She was inches away from being a hood ornament.
I used to drive my bike to work; I worked shifts at the time. I obeyed the traffic laws. It didn’t impede my progress. I don’t cycle anymore and I am seeing exactly where the problems lie. Yes, there are inconsiderate vehicle operators but by and large, the greater offenders are cyclists. The police need to crack down on them. Ticket them for going through stops signs and red lights. Driving down the wrong side of the road or not using bike paths, putting themselves and drivers at risk.
Yesterday, saw a Mom driving down the wrong side of the street, while her daughter drove on the sidewalk. Daughter had a helmet – Mom didn’t. Then a few minutes later, a helmet clad Dad with similarly helmet clad kids drove right through a stop sign, across a fairly busy street.
Cyclists want equality on the roads – well, respect has to be earned and the majority don’t deserve it. How about licensing bikes? They are on the road and if injured, the SAAQ pays for that injury through licensing taxes of motor vehicles. Bike paths are similarly funded through tax dollars. Licensing would educate cyclists, something that is, sorely, required as cycling deaths increase. Road signs and traffic lights are for all – including cyclists. One would hope, common sense and an elemental knowledge of the laws of physics would be sufficient but according to accidents stats, that hope is misplaced.
- Earbuds are not permissible.
- Texting or cell phone use while in control of any vehicle, is not permissible.
- Stop signs mean “STOP”.
- Traffic lights are not decoration. Obey them.
- Helmets help to keep brain matter where it belongs and not on someone’s bumper.
- Lights and reflective clothing at night.
- Drive on the correct side of the road – WITH traffic.
- Get off the sidewalks.
- Pedestrians have the right of way – even for you, on your bike.
- USE HAND SIGNALS because drivers do not have E.S.P. and YOU don’t have the right to turn just because ya wanna.
I always give cyclists that extra care, out of respect for traffic code even if the cyclist, like that moron on Sources or the stupid young woman on Broadview, really don’t deserve any respect. By all means, if you can, use your bike but use it like a responsible individual. Teach your kids to ride but make sure, BEFORE, they head out that they know the rules of the road and obey them. Don’t be like that mother without a helmet, allowing her kid to drive on the sidewalk, toward traffic. Or that Dad that took his kids through the stop sign.
Bottom line – if you want respect and to share the road? Obey the laws and earn that respect.