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Thursday, September 9, 2010

It’s not the cyclist, it’s the attitude

Recently while cycling home from work I approached a red light at an intersection behind another cyclist. As is usually the case, the stream of cars on our left weren't leaving much room between them and the curb. When this happens I usually fall back and wait for traffic to move again rather than risk being squashed into the curb, but the cyclist ahead managed to squeeze his way forward.

At the corner a large vehicle starting to make a right turn then stopped short of hitting the cyclist ahead of me. I was close enough to the vehicle to hear the driver mumble something. “%#%@ cyclists!” I don’t know what he said exactly, but I doubt it was a compliment.

I hear a lot of grumbling regarding cyclists. They take up room on the road, they plow through stop signs and red lights at intersections. They dangerously weave in and out of traffic and are a menace towards pedestrians on sidewalks. I’ve witnessed all of these instances and will agree that some cyclists are a hazard.

I have also witnessed hazardous behaviour on the part of drivers and pedestrians. Just this morning a pedestrian failed to look both ways before stepping from the sidewalk onto the street a few feet from my path. Had there not been time for me to stop it would have been a nasty collision.

A few minutes later I saw a driver make a left turn onto a street nearly knocking down a dad and his 2 kids on a crosswalk. The pedestrian signal clearly indicated that it was that family's right of way.

Unfortunately too many people have a very careless attitude on the road whether they be cyclist, driver or pedestrian. It's an individual issue. Put that careless cyclist behind the wheel of a car and I'm sure you'll see reckless driving behaviour. Or watch that reckless driver walk down the street for a block and they will likely try crossing the street when or where they shouldn't be.

We all need to smarten up and pay attention. There's room for everyone on the road and with a little more care we should all be able to get to where we're going safely.