Sunday, 12 June 2011

Are Cyclists Selfish and Rude? No, And We Have Video to Prove It

Stop signs every 266 feet on Toronto's Palmerston Avenue. Image credit Lloyd Alter

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

It is the talk of Toronto right now, how cyclists break the law by blowing through stop signs, riding the wrong way on one way streets, and give the finger to anyone who complains. The Star gives a couple of column inches to a woman who says:

I am tired of cyclists purposely and chronically breaking the law....After they come flying out of a side street unseen into the path of my car, and my heart pounds because I almost hit them, I yell at them for being on a one-way street, and 95 per cent tell me to F-off. I stop at stop lights, (but) 95 per cent of cyclists don't.

Cyclist Emma Woolley writes in Spacing Magazine:

Why do cyclists feel that they're above the law in almost every single situation? Why the sense of entitlement and "because I can?" There's a widespread attitude that we don't have to follow the rules simply because we're not in a car. It's unsafe and quite frankly, stupid.

No, Emma, I don't go through stop signs "because I can", but because they are designed to regulate cars, not bikes, and the law that says I should stop for them is stupid. Four-way stops were introduced as a method of speed control that is not relevant to cyclists and that barely works for cars, and that It's Time To Rip Out The Stop Signs And Stop Blaming Cyclists.

Bike activist James Schwartz of the Urban Country has had enough of this, and writes:

The mainstream media in Toronto has resorted to name calling and hyperbolic generalizations about Toronto cyclists in an effort to shame cyclists into blindly obeying laws that were designed primarily for motor vehicles....Cyclists in North America already get the short end of the stick and there is already enough animosity on our streets. Instead of writing articles that breed hatred towards cyclists while ignoring the fact that motor vehicles kill several dozens of people every year in Toronto alone, we should be using that energy to change our laws to make cycling more safe and comfortable so that cyclists aren't tempted to bend the law to stay clear of danger.

But instead of just writing "another long-winded article in protest", he took to the streets with his video camera yesterday. It isn't as funny as Jaymi's post Cyclist Argues Against Bike-Lane Police Fine In Hilarous Video; it just shows lots of people following most of the rules, being polite, yielding to cars turning right, and not even swearing at the truck blocking the bike lane, just riding around it. That is the Toronto cycling scene as I know it.

More at the Urban Country

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