Do you find it hard to share the road?
July 10, 2011 5:03pm CST
It's summer here in Quebec, which means that non-drivers like me have the chance to jump for joy and pull their bicycles out of the shed after a long, LONG winter. Following a quick tune-up and a check of the tires, it's time to take to the streets, sharing the road easily with drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Right? Wrong. Nowadays, with the "green" movement picking up speed, gas prices soaring, and the SAAQ (which is something like a French DMV) deciding that all new drivers have to pay $1000 in order to take mandatory theory classes before they can receive their licenses, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of transportation. One popular choice is the bicycle. It's gas-free, license-free, and has the added benefit of being great exercise to ride. The problem is that cyclists have the disadvantage of being much smaller, lighter, and slower than cars, meaning that they are in danger whenever they venture off of bike paths--which are often quite pretty and pleasant, but useless when one is trying to run errands or get to work instead of taking a scenic ride--and onto busy city streets. Most drivers do not seem to take the time to familiarize themselves with the rights of bicycles. They simply write all cyclists off as a collective nuisance and do everything they can to speed past people on bikes, making an already dangerous situation even more dangerous for cyclists. Just recently, I was preparing to make a vehicular left turn on my bicycle (yes, cyclists are allowed to use the left turn lane, provided that they signal their intention to turn beforehand and obey the traffic lights). I had checked my mirror and, seeing that no one was close behind me, was beginning to move over into the turn lane when a taxi driver honked at me and illegally passed me on the right before stopping in front of me, forcing me to brake abruptly in order to avoid a collision in which I would definitely have been more damaged than the taxi. I was livid. Having made the effort to know my rights and obligations in order to be a good cyclist (the kind that stops at stop signs, gets off of her bike when using pedestrian crosswalks, and doesn't ride illegally on the sidewalk), it grated on me to see this taxi driver completely ignoring the rules of the road and being rude in the process. This incident inspired me to turn to the myLot community for a discussion about personal experiences between cyclists and drivers, as well as reasons for behaving the way we do on the road. Is "sharing the road" important to you? Is it enforced where you live? Does your city make it easy or difficult for cyclists and motorists to travel safely together? Please share.
1 person likes this
11 Jul 11
In the town where I live there are many trails and places for cyclists and people walking. There are only a few places where you have to bike on the road where the cars are. When I've been on the road with cars the drivers are very polite and show their concern for my safety as a cyclist. I do the same when I am driving my car and cyclists are on the road. The rules for a driver behind the wheel is to not drive faster than you can stop to avoid an accident.
11 Jul 11
Cycling in your town sounds great! Is your town a newer one? (I'm wondering if new towns are planning better for alternative vehicles nowadays.) Thank you so much for having the courtesy to respect cyclists on the road--you're one of a select few, from what I've seen!
12 Jul 11
Hi QeeGood, Your country seems to be bicycle friendly country.And it is good to hear that you respect cyclists on road.I wish motorists in our country learn something from your country motorists. I think the motorist in your country respect cyclists because they themselfs are cyclists. I wish even my country citizens also start cycling at least for health and protecting environment.
11 Jul 11
In my country there is no law for cyclists.He is free bird.And there is no law for protecting cyclists also. In my country many ride cycles but only if they are poor and cant afford a car or motor bike.The other rider are students who cant have a licence.As soon as they get licence they throw their cycles away. On road there is no respect for cyclists.Every body hates them.either because the cyclists are poor or either because these motorbikers hated their own bicycle journeys during school time just because they had to paddle.Many people hate working and if they are made to work forcefully they will start hating everybody who does it.If there would not have been a licence system for vehicles then i doubt if any one would have rode bicycle. Some people while riding their vehicle along bicycle start thinking of their pride and in this pride and to show the cyclist his inferiority break rules and annoy him.They get pleasure in doing so. Even after all this there some who are starting liesure riding but they dont ride on roads instead they ride only in the morning and only on scenic roads.I and some other liesure riders break all laws and ride on road,but we face lot of harassment.many try to over take us and laugh at as.But still we continue.Vehicle rider just want the roads for themselves. I have read many forums where the hatred for bicyclist openly shown.They want cycles to be banned and roads only to be left them selves. This is what happens in my country.Are are yet more things to write.
11 Jul 11
Believe me, bicycle laws do nothing to stop motorists from feeling superior to everyone else! It seems to be one of those "Ha, ha, I'm bigger than you so I can do whatever I want" situations. It's like having an annoying older sibling! It sounds like it would be pretty dangerous to be any kind of vehicle driver in your country. Why do you suppose there are no laws protecting or restricting cyclists? Doesn't this make it just as dangerous for motorists as for cyclists (no laws means that they never even know what a cyclist should do, whether he or she does it or not)?
12 Jul 11
No law means no law.There are no rules for cyclists here.A cyclist can do anything he wants.He can even break signals if he is in small cities.no body will ask him anything. In our country even if a accident happens because of the cyclists fault he will not be punished instead the motorist gets punished. I think the people should start cycling for health.If many people start riding then i think government will bring some laws.
• United States
20 Jul 11
I am going to be buying myself a bicycle to use on the roads here in the USA. Here in the US, it's legal to use any normal road as a bicyclists, but I believe we must stick closer to the sidewalks to stay safer. I've got to brush up on my knoweldge of the laws here. I've not ridden a bicycle in traffic before so havent' had any close encounters, and hopefully won't have any close encounters. The only thing I face is where I can chain my bike up to stay safe when there isn't a bike rack available. Are there many bike racks in Quebec? How do you chain your bike up so it doesn't get stolen? I need a lot of suggestions on that.
6 Nov 11
It really depends on where you are. In a big city like Montreal, the roads are very bike-friendly and there are special places to park bikes, almost like parking spaces for cars. But the moment you move away from the city, it gets very difficult to find a place to lock up a bike. Small towns like mine are dominated by cars, and not much thought goes into people who choose not to or simply cannot drive. Usually, your best bet is to look around places where young people generally congregate, like libraries or youth centres, because people expect children to be on bikes and will usually try to accommodate them. Otherwise, you will probably get stuck taking your chances on a chain-link fence or a telephone pole.
• South Africa
11 Jul 11
Hi there kaypow. In my city, there are not many rules or laws for cyclists at all, even though there are many cyclists in my country. In some areas, there is a cycling lane painted on to the road but it doesn't seem like many people abide by those laws. Sadly, it seems like cyclists really have a fight on their hands if they want to share the road with motor cars. I think maybe there should be another solution to this - maybe there can be some kind of a sidewalk type thing that can be constructed off the road that is specifically for cyclists!
11 Jul 11
In your country there are atleast painted cycling lanes but in my country there is no cycling lane at all.Cycling here go from the corners of the road.How good it could that even my country government too thinks of this and makes a lane for us.But i know they will not do so. As far as separate side walk like thing for cyclists is concerned i dont think the government wil do that.Even if they does it there is no chance that cyclists can be able to use it. All this problem is happening because cyclist are very few.If their number increase then there is a chance that every thing will become all right. People should start riding bicycle even to work.so that number of cycles increase.