EDITORIAL: Respect, on two wheels or four

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

A cyclist was killed last week in Richmond. Last Thursday, another was struck and injured by a hit-and-run driver on the Mary Hill Bypass in Port Coquitlam. In each case, it’s unclear what caused the collisions.

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. The Lower Mainland has been expanding its cycling infrastructure but it needs more work — lots more work.

But 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 in B.C. every month during peak riding season of May to October, according to ICBC.

We should all be encouraging more people to strap on helmets and take to the streets on two wheels — it’s healthy for commuters and recreational riders, the environment and a congested region. But those statistics don’t do much for a would-be cyclist’s confidence.

Yes, cyclists must do their part. The insurance corporation advises them 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 last week one rider lost their life and another was seriously hurt.

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.


– The Richmond Review (Black Press)



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