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