The media has been highlighting the tragic accident that killed a local Vancouver woman on the Stanley Park Causeway on the eve of Bike to Work Week. This week it’ll be extra busy with increased bike traffic, so everyone needs to slow down and share the roads.
Car and bicycle accidents are often not accidents but preventable incidents. In our busy Vancouver city we need to share the roadways, bike lanes and sidewalks. It comes down to three principles everyone should follow:
- Slow down
- Have road courtesy
- Know the rules of the road.
However, the rules of the road get very complicated when it comes to cyclists sharing the road with traffic. I encounter this on a daily basis in downtown Vancouver. On roads where there are no bike lanes, how does a driver manage to work around some cyclists who clearly do not know the rules?
Many avid cyclists condemn drivers and their behavior, but these vocal cyclists are more than likely those who know and follow the rules. They do their best to adhere to bike routes and navigate safely through traffic. However, in defense of many drivers, there are hundreds of cyclists in Vancouver who do not know the road rules.
Some examples include those riders who:
- Ride down one way streets the wrong way
- Weave from road to sidewalk, to crosswalk to their advantage
- Jump red lights
- Ride between cars
- Come up behind and to the right of cars trying to parallel park
- Cross intersections diagonally
- Ride on busy sidewalks
- Ride on streets with no bike lane, when one street over there is a segregated bike lane.
These riders are a menace to the safety of all.
I have said it before and will say it again. In order to save lives and aggravation, it’s time to implement a basic road and safety licensing test for cyclists in Vancouver. ICBC and local cycle advocates should get together to provide a framework to improve safety for drivers and cyclists. Driver’s tests too, should also cover how a driver should interact with cyclists for the safest outcome. If both drivers and cyclists learn to share the roads safely, we’ll all be a lot safer, regardless of our choice of transportation.