Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ban Or Regulate Cycles On The Road

As someone who carpools to work every weekday, I see lots of cyclists on the road as we approach downtown. Downtown Toronto is a very bike-friendly city, with bike lanes, narrower car lanes, right-of-way and other facilities given to the bicycle. Unfortunately I find cyclists often abuse those rights.

For example,
  • many a time I have come to a complete stop at an All-Way-Stop, and the driver in the other direction is about to go, when a cyclist zooms by besides me. It seems Stop signs do not exist for some cyclists.
  • When the light turns red, as a driver you stop. Some cyclists on the other hand become a 'pedestrian', getting off thier bikes and running the red if the road is clear. That's jaywalking for you, on a bike.
  • Many cyclists do not check their blind spot before veering onto your lane in case of construction blocking the bike lane. Many a time you can brake and the cyclist 'dings' you. By the time you are out of the car yelling at him, he is on some side street furiously biking away.
  • Quite often it seems to me an accident between a car and a cycle will be due to the cyclist's recklessness, yet you will see some city politicians and bicyclists crying foul about this city's intolerance for bikes.

As the price of gas keeps going up, we are only going to see more and more cyclists on the road. Those bike lanes are going to get crowded. It's time to either ban cyclists from the road, or regulate them. I propose the following legislations that should be passed either in busy metro cities, or province-wide, and should apply to any cycle using the main roads:
  • All cycles must have working white (front) and red (rear) lights (not reflectors).
  • All cycles must be equipped with mirrors on the handles.
  • All cyclists must pay a plate registration fee (could be as small as $40 per annum). This should give them a license plate with a unique license number they can (and must) attach to their bikes. This would prevent them from 'dinging and running'.
  • All cyclists must pass the G1 road test (or an equivalent bicycle test) so they are aware of the rules of the road.

While I agree that the bicycle is an environmentally-friendly way to commute, save money and be physically fit, that does not give it a free pass from the law.

PS. FYI I was not 'hit' by a bike today. This is something I have thought about for some time, and especially after near misses.



Anonymous said...

Problems can be found with cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles. Cyclists and pedestrians constantly through themselves in harms way by crossing bloor street at 430 pm without the light. Jammed traffic having to watch hummers and the like should not have to deal with a pedestrian jaywalking. Cyclists do not have the right to disregard all rules of the road. Its a bicycle, not a pedestrain, so if you are cycling on the streets, hopping the curb and taking the crosswalk is not allowed. The problem with cyclists is they never do what you expect them to, like a car. Cars do not just suddenly start driving across crosswalks and sidewalks to avoid lights. Car drivers as well really need to smarten up their acts. Using a cellphone does not exempt you from using turn signals. Just because you do not have a third arm for the phone does not mean that you can screw with every other driver because your friend called. That applies to make up application, McDonalds, and the like. Pay attention, you have a tonne of metal moving at great speeds with no one on board paying attention.

The problem can be fixed by the adhering to the following rules
1) A bike is a bike and not a pedestrian or car.
2) A pedestrian is a pedestrian and not a bike or car.
3) A car is a car and not your bathroom/dining room/living room/bedroom.

Crescent Canuck said...

True but cars already have laws governing them. cyclists should have these laws and most importantly, we should be able to identify the biker even if they decide to make a break for it.

Anh Khoi Do said...

I do agree with a part of what you said. It's almost the same thing in Montreal: cyclists are giving us the feeling that they're firmly convinced that they're over the law. Even though policemen are doing their best to keep their eyes on cyclists, it's true that most of the road indications are made for car drivers. More road indications should be made for the cyclists since they do have the tendency to give to themselves a few prerogatives.

Tuco said...

Well, I'm a fairly heavy duty Toronto cyclist, and while I don't disagree with your ideas, I also think the "biker problems" would be relieved a great deal if we had MORE dedicated bike lanes - however:
a) lights - sure, I have them for dawn, dusk and night. Don't use them during the day, it'd be a waste of time.
b) Mirrors - okkaayy... I actually have one on my main commuting bike, but it's actually nowhere near as good as a quick look over the shoulder (bike mirrors are too small to really give a picture of what's on the road)
c)Registration & Plates - hmmm. Tough one. Anybody who is on a racing bike would definitely say No Way (racing bikes aren't allowed to have anything on them which could fall off - including lights). Maybe for workhorse commuting bikes a plate would be okay.
d) G1 Road test - well, a very tiny minority of dedicated cyclists might go to the bother of doing this, but all the hosers who give cyclists a bad name by riding $10.00 bikes in zigzags across the road would never do this.