Have winter cyclists lost their good sense?
Don’t get me wrong… I applaud their dedication to staying fit, saving the environment, reaching training goals, getting to work or whatever other reason they climb on their bikes this time of year. But come on, I know I am not alone in questioning not only their sanity but their better judgment when I drive past them on Scott Street. Or up the bridge at Albert and Bayswater. Or along Parkdale during rush hour. Or Holland after a dump of snow. Or Welllington/Richmond any time of day or year. It’s not safe.
Driving in winter is a challenge: the roads are slippery; snowbanks fill the shoulder and spill into the road; some motorists drive the narrow slushy streets like they are on the Queensway in July. It’s not a leisurely drive in the comfort of our cars; it’s more like a stress-a-palooza behind the wheel. And then there is that crazy cyclist who throws more danger into the mix.
Here’s the part where they need to listen up: to avoid hitting them, they often force motorists into making unsafe maneuvers on busy, congested, slippery roads. We absolutely do not want to hit them. But the road conditions are not safe for cyclists either. Some of them wobble into the lane, swerve in front of cars to get around clumps of snow and ride in car lanes because the shoulder is a snowbank. In the case of Scott Street between Parkdale and Bayswater, there is no shoulder!
I haven’t forgotten that some drivers are jerks and do stupid things to avoid cyclists on the road. Their unsafe driving to that end subsequently endangers other drivers, too.
I am sure cyclists get angry when drivers don’t share the road with them, especially in winter where everyone should exercise more caution. But come on! It’s winter! Riding your bike on the road in winter? Really??? You can’t tell me that is safe for anyone. Is riding a bike this time of year so important that they risk the safety of everyone on the road?
I am not saying that cycling should be banned from the roads in winter, nor am I saying that motorists shouldn’t share the roads with cyclists. What I am saying is that we all learn that safety comes first. Always. No exception. And I’m not just talking about cyclists’ safety, but motorists’ too. Don’t forget that the road in winter can be unsafe for cyclists AND drivers. There are days and road conditions where cyclists should exercise better judgment. On those days, I ask them, get off yer bike and take the bus like everyone else. And we will all get home in one piece.
Please sign me,
An exasperated winter motorist