Editorial: Greater respect needed between motorists and cyclists

Drivers and cyclists need to watch for each other at all times. - Oran Viriyincy photo via Flickr
Drivers and cyclists need to watch for each other at all times.
— image credit: Oran Viriyincy photo via Flickr

A fear of death shouldn’t be what keeps people from choosing to ride a bicycle. But it just might.

Another cyclist was killed in Richmond this week. She was fatally struck by a vehicle while apparently waiting to turn onto Russ Baker Way. As of press time, it’s unclear what caused the collision.

What is clear is the devastating results of a crash between a bicycle and a vehicle.

The roads are packed with vehicles, driven by motorists weighed down by a multitude of potential distractions. Richmond has been expanding its cyclist infrastructure, but it needs more work. Lots more work. And giving cyclists plenty of room on the road doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be safe from inattentive drivers.

An average of 150 cyclists are injured every month in B.C. during peak riding season of May to October, according to ICBC.

We should all be encouraging more cyclists to strap on helmets and take to the streets. It’s healthy for commuters and recreational riders, the environment and a congested city. But those statistics don’t do much for a cyclist’s confidence.

Yes cyclists must do their part too. The insurance corp advises cyclists to never assume drivers can see them, and to wear bright, reflective clothing—and use lights at night.

But how many times have you seen a motorist park in a bike lane? Fail to yield to a cyclist? Nearly knock a rider over while passing?

It happens too often, and this week someone has lost their life.

Drivers and cyclists need to watch for each other at all times, use eye contact and hand signals. Moreover, we all need to make efforts to build greater respect between drivers and cyclists.

Whether on two wheels or four, that starts with every one of us.

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