What grinds my gears: reader comments

What grinds my gears: reader comments

M.X. Déry, Contributor ~

After a month of complaining in an open forum about drivers, e-bikers, cyclists and pedestrians, I have received several comments in person, by email and via Facebook about all of the above topics. I will also have to eat crow since I have made some minor errors in my rantings.

The motor-assisted cycle piece received the most reader approval, with all commenters agreeing that a 1300W scooter had no business in the bike lane.

While avid cyclists agreed with my commentary on jaywalkers and the alarming frequency that they are nearly struck by vehicles passing them or cutting them off, readers seemed silent on the topic of stop signs. Many readers shared stories of near misses with motor vehicles in and around the base.

The military police were quick to point out that headphones are another problem they see on base that I didn’t mention. Another sore topic was the MP gate, with cyclists failing to dismount and follow the sentry’s instructions. This may very well lead to that gate being shut permanently if cyclists can’t obey the rules in the future.

The most vocal group were pedestrians, who, upon hearing any portion of my commentary was about them, said that I should write about bicycles burning through stop signs. Luckily, I could reply that I had covered that topic in the previous edition.

When talking about jaywalkers, I wrote that this was the top infraction MPs regularly ticket for, but I later learned that while it is the top infraction, they do not regularly ticket for this dreadful behaviour.

Another point of contention with readers was my statement that cyclists are supposed to remain one metre from the curb. Admittedly, the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act states that, with the exception of a few highways, bicycles are vehicles that can take up a whole lane like cars.

I contacted ICBC long before this series because the BC MVA is unclear about what I should do as a cyclist and I wanted to know my rights. They directed me to the ICBC website on cycling and bike sense (the BC Bicycle operator’s manual) and in those references they recommend that a bicycle travelling slower than the speed limit should keep as far right as practicable without hugging the curb, approximately one metre.

The idea is to reduce the odds of dooring and give some room to manoeuvre in case a pedestrian steps out into the road without looking.

Getting reader feedback and stories about cycling has been cathartic, and I’d like to thank you for writing to me. In the last five weeks I’ve seen a drastic improvement on the roads, but sadly, just this morning I saw a motorist stop suddenly and turn right without indicating, forcing me to come to a complete stop just before the dockyard general parking.

After that, a fellow cyclist in front of me in dockyard burned through the stop near DY113 and didn’t indicate that he was turning right.

There is still work to be done before my bike to work is safer, but for now I will wrap-up this biking rant. Perhaps next week I will talk about something less life and death and more
fun: photography.

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