Opinion

OUR VIEW PENINSULA: Check your riding habits

Share the road.

Those words are not just for the drivers of cars and trucks anymore. They also apply to the hundreds, or thousands, of cyclists in Greater Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula.

With better weather upon us, more and more bicycles are on the streets. In this region, it has also become old hat for drivers and cyclists to mingle on the morning commute or out on a Sunday drive.

Commonplace is such interaction but like any old habits, it pays to remind yourself of the rules of the road as they apply to both drivers and riders.

Cyclists expect cars and trucks to be predictable — staying in their respective lanes, signalling for turns and stops and checking first before changing lanes. Being predictable makes for a safer experience when sharing the road. Bikes are safer when they stick to trails — but that isn’t always possible. Narrow roads on the Peninsula make for closer encounters. If drivers are doing what they’re expected to do, trouble can be avoided.

Drivers, too, expect cyclists to be just as predictable. There are signals — for turning and stopping — they have come to look for, as well as the expectation that cyclists follow the same rules they do. A bike rider’s greater maneuverability allows for quicker turns and the ability to fit into places where a car cannot go — but that does not mean a cyclist should do so. The consequences for a sudden, unexpected change for a bike rider are more severe than for the driver of a vehicle weighing tonnes.

It bears repeating: cyclists need to be just as responsible — and even more so — as drivers of motorized vehicles. A wrong move could spell disaster for a cyclist, protected not by steel, but by a simple helmet.

Police will be watching for cyclists following the rules of the road and stopping those who are not.

Get back into the habits we were taught as young riders. Avoid the tickets and fines. Avoid disastrous interactions with vehicles.

 

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