Safety of cyclists questioned

With the warm weather finally upon us, people are taking their bikes out of the garage to the road. However, they may run into some problems.

While cycling in Kitchener-Waterloo is fairly safe, Blake Ellis, a board member of the Waterloo Cycling Club, has strong opinions about the by-laws the region has in place for cyclists.

Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

“The whole region needs more help to identify safe cycling in the region,” he said. “The by-laws need to go away in my personal opinion. I don’t think the by-law riding single file is the way to go. It’s not going to promote safe cycling because there are all kinds of things that can go against as a cyclist.”

Though cycling is fairly safe, there is still a long way to go in terms of making it 100 per cent safe for motorists and cyclists. Alexandra Webb, third year kinesiology major, noted that Kitchener was “a lot worse” than Waterloo.

“The bike trails were pretty narrow and cars driving never check their blind sports. I almost died a few times,” Webb said.

Ellis echoed Webb’s sentiment as well, “The biggest thing I want to have happen across all of Canada is to have the road safer for cyclists and drivers. We all have to get to work; we don’t want to be injured.”

“As a cyclist, we know we will get injured if a car hits us. We should abide by the highway traffic act, but drivers should remember that we are just people trying to get exercise out in the road and have some fun. We get a lot of one fingered comments and cars yelling at us. I got cut off by a bus last night … he had no right doing what he did. But sometimes they just don’t care,” he finished.

Natalie Pace, second year cultural studies and women studies major, admires the effort that the region, especially Kitchener, is doing in terms of promoting cycling. With the recent introduction of the Community Access Bike Share in Kitchener, the right steps are being taken to promote cycling culture. However the region fails at enforcing the rules.

“I’m fairly sure it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk … I’m not really sure what the by-laws are to be honest, I’ve never seen them enforced.”

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