Bike/Car Conflicts and thoughts.com deleted my post as I type it in!

After reading some tweets about 10 St bicycle lanes and the percentage of drivers who drive in the bicycle lane, it is obvious that the City of Calgary just doesn't comprehend what is so morally bad and idiotic about bicycles being forced to share the road with cars. In one sentence... ITS DANGEROUS!

Just tally up the number of avoidable car accidents in Calgary each day and it soon becomes hopelessly apparent that since drivers have little regard for their own safety (which is obvious from their total disregard for the rights of pedestrians), we can't expect any different treatment for anyone who shares the road with automobiles including police (one of which was hit by a drunk driver on Deerfoot near Beddington Trail overpass these past few days.

I don't know if you've noticed the bright red pickups at the Calgary Airport with numbers on them but if you have, even these drivers have a total disregard for pedestrian's rights. One of the airport vehicles stopped on a pedestrian crosswalk, deliberately blocking pedestrians from crossing the road. The driver's excuse was that he was taking a photo.

We've heard it all before... lame excuses to excuse driver stupidity and a total disregard for anyone but themselves. Not only is it illegal to stop on crosswalks, it is also illegal to trespass against a pedestrian's right to use crosswalk. When it comes to incidents with vehicles and pedestrians, the pedestrian is always right regardless of what lame excuses some drivers use to flatter their total lack of intelligence about their responsibility to others.

I could go on and on about the number of times I've seen pedestrians almost run over by Associated Cabs at the airport as well.

Another topic I could go on and on about are the brain dead drivers who park on the crosswalk at Airport Trail and Barlow Trail. This past week I even had to cycle into one Associated Cab because the driver didn't leave enough room for me to get around him on the crosswalk so my pedal scraped up against his car as I cycled around the senseless excuse of a human being and onto the curb to cross the turning lane back onto the pathway.

Do pedestrians also have to start jumping on top of cars to get across intersections these days? I'm sure the Police know about crosswalk violators since they spend so much time and our money driving around on the roads. Surely they see these violations on a daily basis because I sure do.

When was the last time you've seen a cop write a violation for drivers blocking crosswalks with their vehicles? I haven't!

How many of you have seen the cashcow enterprise cruisers using photo radar? Yes, I bet you are more familiar with that than every seeing any driver get a ticket for a lack of courtesy in sharing the road. This takes me back to my original point that expecting psychopathic drivers to safely share the road is doomed to end in someone dying.

Most of us enjoy cycling away from traffic whenever possible because we know that when hostile drivers are in a hurry that they don't care who they kill, even if they kill themselves. Far too often cyclists are forced to share the road with people who have no business or skills at being on the road in the first place. That's the sad state of affairs cyclists deal with on a daily basis.

Forcing cyclists to share the road will only amplify the already high tension between cyclists and drivers. In the past week I've had to pull in front of cars that passed me (in my lane) and who took up the entire lane at the next traffic light. These days I just cycle past them and pull in front of them at the light. Maybe they will learn courtesy if they are the one's who is on the receiving end. For some reasons drivers don't think that they have to use common sense and another lane to pass bicycles just like they should do for cars.

If cyclists are going to be forced to share roads with cars through the coercion of City Hall, then cyclists had better be given the treatment that the motorist is always at fault because that's the truth almost all the time when cyclists and cars collide. In the majority of the cases, the car driver fails to hold him/her-self responsible for causing the majority of accidents involving cyclists. Often drivers think that because they have to pay insurance to drive a car, they have a right to use the road and bicycles don't. Here's another of those educational opportunities most cyclists miss....

The reason cars must be insured in order to be driven on public roads is because THEY ARE DANGEROUS! If cyclists were as incompetent as the majority of drivers on Calgary roads, we'd have to pay for the right to use public roads too!

There are several things that most drivers just don't get.

1) Bicycles have a legal right to use the road. When you pass a bicycle you must do so only when it is safe to pass and only when you leave enough room while passing so as to complete the pass safely.

2) Because bicycles are safer than the senseless slaughter caused by automobile drivers, we don't require insurance because we don't create huge amounts of property damage and kill human beings at the rate which automobile drivers do.

3) Bicycles reduce pollution, reduce traffic congestion, reduce health care costs, reduce property damage and reduce environmental impact to levels that automobiles never will.

4) If more people cycled, there would be less traffic congestion. Most drivers will never admit they cause traffic congestion.

5) The more people who cycle, the more employment opportunities open up. With cars, most people drive point A to point B with a minimum of stops along the way. Cycling tends to involve lots of stops, restaurant meals, sightseeing etc.

the rest of the post was deleted by thoughts.com as I was typing it in... too bad!

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Comments

  1. hanschas

    The city of Cape Town has made bicycle lanes away from the roads, so a car would have to go off the road to cross the bike lane. If the roads are wide enough, then bicycles and cars can travel together, like we have here. But there are cyclists that ride on the pavements here, just so they can avoid stopping at the traffic lights! There are rules to follow, but nobody cam ensure that the rules are obeyed. The law says you can make a citizens arrest, but you have to have witnesses and proof, before you commit yourself to all this red tape. What impressed me a lot was the disciplined drivers I encountered whilst in Australia. There everyone seems to obey the road law, but I didnt notice any cyclists.
    They have started the points system here in SA, but what is the use, when they cant have officers that can enforce the law. My contention is that to get your drivers licence, they test you on parking… Hello – what about driving skills. They do make you drive in the city to see if you have traffic capabilities, but what about correcting skids on wet roads, accident avoidance and stuff like that?
    It isnt even safe to walk on the pavements anymore, so when you are out, you have to look out for yourself, you either must be able to jump very high or run very fast to avoid collisions lol

    December 18, 2011
  2. stevehayes13

    ‘Calgary just doesn’t comprehend what is so morally bad and idiotic about bicycles being forced to share the road with cars. In one sentence… ITS DANGEROUS!’

    Nope. Just plain wrong. A bicycle is a vehicle. It belongs on the road. And there is no problem with bikes and cars sharing the road, assuming the cyclist is competent. And the facts speak loudly on this. Cyclists live longer than non-cyclists. Now if cycling on the road was dangerous, cyclists would have shorter life spans than non-cyclists.

    December 18, 2011
    1. WhatILearnedAboutCycling

      I have one comment for and one against how dangerous it is cycling around cars. So its a 50/50 split comment wise.

      I’ve run out of enough fingers to count the times I’ve had cars block crosswalks and this occurs so often that the majority of people I see stopping at intersections do stop on crosswalks. On occasion I’ve had to scrape up against their cars to get across the crosswalk. Last week I stopped in front of a truck and blocked him from going through an intersection since he was stopped on the crosswalk and prevented me from getting across the road. Sometimes I just have to spell it out to drivers and even when I’ve asked drivers to back up off the crosswalk (so they are over the sensor for the lights to change) they refuse and sit there for ten or twenty minutes or more out of stubborn stupidity. Even when I try to help some drivers out by making suggestions, it seems to fall on deaf ears.

      Any cyclist can be competent and still be unsafe around bad drivers. No cyclist can entirely rule out dangerous idiots in cars like the crazy person who refused to pass in the left lane which was empty while honking and passing too close in my lane with a fellow cyclist following. That was dangerous and I’ve yet to see a cop charge someone for such reckless behavior because cops here seem to only be interested in photo radar. I could argue with such people all day long but in the end they just don’t care to do much but harass cyclists because of their prejudices and lack of education about the rights of other people who use roads. I base comments about the dangers of sharing roads with cars from my experiences. Your experiences may differ.

      I do not recall saying people can’t cycling in the winter. On the route I use, there are days when I can’t cycle because the city won’t plow parts of the route which aren’t paved. There are paved pathways which are neglected by the city and are too dangerous to cycle on let alone try to walk on them (ie. steep icy pathways).

      You have to realize that only this winter was I informed that there are studded winter tires for bicycles. So like anything else, one learns a lot by trying something new. People who have cycled for many years in the winter obviously know more than I do for my first winter riding outdoors on a bicycle. My road bike would never be able to handle winter cycling days (unless there’s a Chinook) which is why I bought a mountain bike which is better suited for off road sections of my route. While one type of bicycle can’t handle winter, others can do a pretty good job of getting around if the snow is less than a few inches deep.

      Enjoy your winter cycling! It has been a challenge for me to adapt to the colder weather. I rarely go as fast in the winter as I do in the summer although I do try to go fast. (Knobby tires have a way of slowing the bike down.)

      January 18, 2012
      1. stevehayes13

        ‘I do not recall saying people can’t cycling in the winter.’ You did – you were dogmatic about it. However, you subsequently deleted the post.

        January 21, 2012
  3. hilarykimbel

    I think that it can be so easy for a bicycle accident to occur. Thanks so much for sharing this. I loved your insight!

    July 08, 2013
  4. twill5

    I need to take my brand new bike into the bike shop. I was riding and I hit a rock and I went head over heels onto the pavement. I was alright because I had all my safety gear on, but my bike flew into the road and got hit by a car. The damage isn’t too extreme because the car wasn’t going very fast, but it’s enough to where I’ll have to take it into a professional for help.

    The Pedal Bike Shop

    March 27, 2014
    1. WhatILearnedAboutCycling

      Sorry to hear that. Hope you weren’t hurt and yes, drivers do tend to underestimate a cyclist’s need for more room to ensure their safety and most of the time driving too close to cyclists is actually a form of harassment and a fear tactic so you have to be brave and hold your ground then hope like hell the driver behind you actually cares about anyone.
      Police tell me to use the whole lane because they have to when cycling. In one instance, a cop yelled at me for cycling on a sidewalk up a steep hill because drivers are so hostile to a slow bicycle. I just detoured onto the grass and kept going until the sidewalk turned into a pathway. Some sidewalks are pathways in Calgary which only adds to the confusion. The laws here don’t treat cyclists the same as drivers. There are dumb laws that require cyclists to walk bikes across crosswalks (which is at least twice as dangerous as cycling due to driver impatience) when no other vehicle operators are required to do the same.
      After checking out bylaws, I learned that anytime I am going over 20 kph I am not legally allowed to use pathways. Also not legally allowed to use sidewalks even though most cyclists believe that is a safer option. The crux of the matter as I see it is that we are not legally required to endanger ourselves in order to obey a law but we are required to obey a law that puts our lives in jeopardy (if that makes any sense).
      The frustrating part is that CYCLING IS SAFER and not just safer for cyclists but safer for everyone. If we provided infrastructure based on each mode of transportation’s safety record, cycling would overwhelmingly be given the amount of tax dollars that motorists get today.

      April 04, 2014