I have always been in the camp of riding my bicycle against traffic wherever possible….obviously I only ride on the shoulder or in the bike lane when doing so and keep at least two feet from the edge of the road.
Many will disagree but at the same time many avid and proactive cyclists agree and suggest that it is in fact safer for them and the vehicles.
If I can see a vehicle approaching me I am more connected and aware of keeping my distance from the line and lane. On the other hand if I am cycling in the lane or on the shoulder with traffic, I am susceptible to being hit from behind by an unobservant driver listening to and caught up in…Caught Up In You by 38 Special. CLICK HERE PLEASE
Many accidents relating to the above are recorded with the driver acknowledging that they didn’t see the bicyclist as per clothing and camouflage etc. There are always vehicles who hug the inside lane and their 18 inch sideview mirror overlaps off of the roadway…I know; I see it all the time. There are many cases of drivers clipping the said rider with their body work. These are documented and factual.
I should also point out that I generally don’t ride my bike on the roadway unless there are no bike lanes and I am in a very rural area such as the Island where I have just relocated to…but when I do, I am very safe and as soon as I see oncoming traffic, even a kilometer up the road I veer to the side whether it is grass or gravel so as to comfort and put at ease the driver approaching me.
These thoughts are my own and I have always thought this way……..out of the box so to speak.
On another note; speaking of cyclists……I know a few in the Soo who are of the mindset that they have just as much right to the roadway as a vehicle but I disagree; there is no comparison to a human body and their epidermis than a 2 ton truck enclosed in steel and metal. Yes I know that according to “law” a bicyclist has the same right to the road as a vehicle, but I mean….let’s be realistic. Laws can be passed by anyone and that alone doesn’t make it divine. We see cases all the time where courts overturn said judgements etc…..so the same applies to “laws”…..they don’t always get things right.
In respect to the above….there is also no general ability for a bicyclist to maintain a speed of 50KM per hour hence slowing up traffic and quite possibly causing road rage and/or a driver to get Pee’d off and pass the cyclist when there is no passing lane….trust me I know this happens.
Getting back to the above; as per the driver, I notice that most vehicles will (when possible) sway to the their right a few feet just in case that rider riding with traffic decides to tweak to his/her left or turn. I encounter this as well when I see oncoming traffic and it is hard for me to grasp. If I am two feet plus off the roadway lane, why would the driver feel compelled to cross onto the other side of the road to possible oncoming traffic? I guess it is just because they are being cautious as they would when approaching a cyclist from behind and I can only be grateful for such respect.
Now, as an avid cyclist I enjoy the scenery when riding but I also like to get lost in my music via my android external speaker, especially on long rides. Alot of riders though will use ear buds or headphones and may not hear traffic coming up from behind and this has caused deaths as we know just like texting and driving has…..I know it is a bit off topic with texting but I am just trying to point out that as we all know both are frowned upon; but people en mass still do it so we have to be realistic.
If you are wearing these and are riding two feet from the lane against traffic, you could have Iron Maiden cranked to ELEVEN and still be 100 % aware of your surroundings…but if the same were done driving with traffic approaching from behind and you or the driver errored in anyway ….you have no time to react; in essence blindsided.
Moving on; I also have different thoughts than some on the topic of riding on the sidewalk. For me, UNLESS, there is a home or business such as Queen St in the Soo or downtown Richards Landing immediately off of the sidewalk and no bike lane, it is safer for the cyclist and vehicles (obviously the infrastructure of the vehicle) that the rider rides on the sidewalk. If you are on the sidewalk you are 1000 % less likely to die from an accident than on the side of the road. How many times have you heard of a pedestrian and cyclist being involved in a fatality on the sidewalk ?…..exactly…..never.
It really boils down to common sense and respect. If you see a Mother walking a baby in a stroller, you slow down to almost stopping and you ride on the grass or side of the road until you smile, pass them, and then proceed as before. I don’t know about you, but when I look at sidewalks; 99.95% of the time they are generally completely or almost completely empty (aside from the downtown core of a city) ; so they are in essence a bike lane.
I know some may not agree with my sentiments on this but that is what makes the world go round and round. Different thinking and different ideas are what transforms society. If Galileo feared social backlash, where would astronomy be today? If people centuries ago didn’t raise questions and have different views when the world being flat was dogma, there would never have been the Harlem Globetrotters (Dad joke) or the technology of satellites that revolve around the world using the Clarke Belt.
Now little ol Me and riding my bicycle is not a great feat as to the above aforementioned, but from someone who obviously is concerned about his physical safety and from someone who has logged thousands of kilometers riding over the years, I believe my thoughts are valid enough to be considered.
I have found dozens and dozens of articles with no effort to support my theory so I will leave two that you may find interesting and compelling and both speak volumes. It is in regards to walking against traffic and biking on sidewalks where it is obviously appropriate and I don’t think I have to say anymore.
Anyway, that is all for me and I hope you will continue to read my columns. Feel free to comment on your thoughts to the article above or message me about stories you may feel that would be of interest for me to write.
In two weeks I will report back on my tourist thoughts where I will be interviewing Americans and other Nationals visiting the Island and get their thoughts on what they like, don’t like, and what they think would enhance this piece of paradise.
Thanks for Reading