There is no doubt that some bicycle riders in Guelph ignore traffic laws, run red lights and roll through stop signs. However, the same may be said of many drivers who do all these things as well as ignoring pedestrians at crosswalks and frequently cutting across bicycle lanes, gravely endangering bike riders. Both groups need to “”clean up their acts” and begin to follow the rules.
Life for bike riders is considerably more hazardous than for car drivers who are protected by tons of surrounding steel and plastic. Bikers are susceptible to cars that turn in front of them or open doors as they pass. The configuration of parking and bike lanes on Woolwich St. makes this a very likely possibility. Bike riders must also contend with lanes that disappear near busy intersections and reappear many meters past these intersections. They must also cope with extremely busy arterials with four lanes of traffic and NO bike lanes (Speedvale is a prime example of such a death trap).
How should bike riders who wish to survive behave? Well, the answer is to ride on sidewalks where roads with or without bike lanes are too hazardous to navigate safely (Most major arterials in Guelph). Riding on sidewalks downtown or where there is heavy pedestrian traffic should be (and is) banned, but why force bike riders to risk their lives on busy roads in suburban areas where hardly anyone uses the sidewalk? There is no doubt that bike riders are generally far more courteous to walkers than are drivers to bikers. How many bike – pedestrian collisions have been reported during the last ten years? How does this compare to car – bike collisions?
Rather than automatically levying large fines upon bike riders on sidewalks, why can’t police use their discretion/judgment and fine bike riders only when there is a reasonable expectation of interference with pedestrians? Police use discretion when issuing speeding tickets; why not also with bikers? FD



Filed under Traffic Management


  1. biker and driver

    Those in cars and bikes are both safer if the biker is on the sidewalk in most cases. Take note of how often there are no people on the sidewalk while the bikers are in traffic. Until we have contiguous, wide, and safe bike lanes through the city, it makes sense to have bikes on the sidewalks.

  2. whyst

    (warning – sarcasm alert) I suppose it makes more sense for the cyclist to ride on the sidewalk in dangerous road situations, because the safety of pedestrians really does not matter.

    I think bikes are a much better trasportation choice than cars, but really? You think bikes belong on the sidewalk? I have a bruise from last month and a ripped jacket from the winter before last to prove you wrong. It’s getting crazy on the sidewalks.

    It’s time to put the clamp down on and hand out more tickets. I have a whole bank of neighbours along Edinburgh who are ready to start dousing sidewalk bikers with their garden hoses in protest. The kids are quite excited too about the thought of hanging out in the trees with water balloon bombs. Beware Edinburgh sidewalk riders, we may have lots more wet surprises in store for you.

  3. Bill Hulet

    A while back the Mercury did a story about how bicyclists get hurt in Guelph and I recall that the statistics from the police showed that the majority of people hurt were riding on the sidewalks. This makes perfect sense. People driving cars look for people going at pedestrian speeds on the sidewalks, not people going at bicycle speeds. This means that someone can zip into a driveway just as you are turning in or backing out.

    I’ve been an avid cyclist for decades. I commuted in the winter for 20 years. Repeat after me IT IS MORE DANGEROUS TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK THAN IN A BICYCLE LANE OR EVEN ON THE ROAD. Tell that to everyone you meet. DON’T ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK! If you don’t have a light, helmet, bell—-get them! They are all very useful tools for riding safely. One last thing: IF YOUR BRAKES DON’T WORK, STAY OFF THE ROAD UNTIL THEY ARE FIXED. (I’m sick of meeting boobs without brakes on bicycles.)

    I used to get upset by people in cars tarring all cyclists, but there ARE a lot of dopes out there riding on two wheels.

    Geeze, people.

  4. John

    I love it when these letters pop up every now and then.

    The old pedestrian vs. cyclist vs. driver debate. There are good and bad examples of all three on the roads and sidewalks of Guelph every day.

    Personally, I’m a cautious driver, an aggressive (but law abiding) cyclist and a militant pedestrian.

  5. Maryann Ferraro

    I agree that police discretion should be used when cyclists are riding on sidewalks.

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