Cyclists need to pay attention to road rules

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For those of us who bus, carpool, or drive, bicyclists can seem like a looming threat. Their lanes are small, their visibility can be difficult — especially in poor weather conditions — and most troublingly, many bike riders neglect their responsibility to follow basic road regulations.

The implications of various vehicles sharing a road were investigated by the University of Waterloo in a study on collisions in Waterloo Region. The study revealed that 86 per cent of collisions involved cyclists riding on sidewalks and through cross walks.

Other bike collisions are also the result of cyclists not signaling properly, and therefore, not communicating to other vehicles what their intended moves are.

Similar studies have also revealed that the majority of road accidents actually involve cyclists. With such overwhelming evidence of the threat of bike riders on the road, it is clear that safety is a serious concern.

Projects like the Region of Waterloo’s Happy Cycling Campaign are welcomed, innovative ideas that are helping to educate cyclists about their responsibilities when sharing the road.

The campaign’s primary stance is to educate cylists on their responsibilities while bike riding and informing them on the major threats that their vehicles pose to their community. Since riding a bike does not require the same commitment and investment as getting a driver’s license, many neglect the responsibilities that accompany bike riding.

But with increased legislature surrounding helmet regulations and an attempt to shed light on the impacts of an increased number of cyclists, it is clear the government is shifting towards categorizing cyclists as vehicles.

In this respect, they will be treated under similar regulations as motorcycles and other road vehicles. While an increased amount of cyclists is a positive change in society that has both health and environmental benefits, it is important for cyclists to realize that if they are riding on the road they are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other vehicle. And if they choose to stay on the sidewalk, they must understand that pedestrians always have the right of way.

-The Cord Editorial Board

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