I was one happy cyclist this past September 1. Ontario passed a series of amendments to traffic laws that are intended to make the roads safer for cyclists:
- All drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one-metre, where practical, when passing cyclists on highways;
- Persons who improperly open or leave opened the doors of motor vehicles on highways face increased penalties (commonly known as “dooring”).
- The fine for non-compliance with bicycle light, reflector and reflective requirements will increase; and
- Cyclists are permitted to use lamps that produce intermittent flashes of red light.
I know that these rules depend on cyclists following the rules themselves. This summer I rode with a couple of people who made me super nervous. They wove in and out of traffic, didn’t signal turns and didn’t stop for lights or signs. That’s the way to make motorists angry and, more importantly, get seriously injured or worse. I’m a driver too, so I understand how hard it can be to see cyclists.
When I head out on the road with cars and trucks, I am entering dangerous territory. I can’t count the number of times I have been squeezed against the curb by a vehicle who thinks I only need a little room. It is terrifying to be buzzed by a two ton car when you’re exposed on a little 10 kg bike with some lycra between you and the road. I really appreciate it when drivers give me the metre.
I hope that we can all share the road. And if you drive and don’t cycle, maybe you should get out there and give it a try!