Kelly Egan triggered a rant from me with his column

I really do not understand the objections to this law.  As a motorist, I have absolutely no trouble slowing down for a cyclist.  All I have to do is wait for an opportunity to pass, then once that opportunity arises, put my foot on the gas and go.   Is going the speed limit for the entire drive worth anyone’s life?  Is getting to where you’re going one minute faster worth someone’s wife losing her husband?

Like it or not, cyclists are entitled to the entire lane whenever they deem it necessary, and, as a cyclist, you can’t always ride on the edge of the road.  That’s where all the potholes are, that’s where all the glass is.

And, here’s the kicker.  Mr. Egan brings up the useless rhetorical device of the , and I quote

“reckless ones who fly through stop signs, red lights, hop on sidewalks, and whatnot.”  As if drivers _never_  break any laws at all.  As if I don’t see at least 10 Highway Traffic Act infractions any time I  drive to work.  Speeding, unsafe lane changes, and even, yes, running stop signs and red lights.  (Even when you’re making a right on red, you have to come to a full and complete stop)

Here’s the big difference.  When drivers break the law, somebody’s life is inevitably at stake.  You want to know why cars have to be licensed, and bicycles don’t?  Bicycles weigh 25 - 30 pounds and travel between 25 and 30 kph.  Cars are 2000 lb death machines traveling at 100 Kph.  

Don’t get me wrong, I have a car, and I even love my car, but I’m always conscious that I hold people’s lives in my hands every time I get behind the wheel.  In Canada, nearly 3000 people are killed by car every year. (or at least in 2004)

And to pour salt on that wound that Mr. Egan opens up with this column, he has the audacity to blame cyclists for somehow using the road that they’re entitled to. For some reason, Mr. Egan seems to think that, if the roads are dangerous and crowded, it’s the cyclists fault for daring to tread on the sacred pavement that is reserved for cars. He does not seem to put two and two together, and realize that if the road is dangerous, that cars are bigger and heavier and an infinite amount more dangerous, and instead blames the 6 car/bike fatalities on cyclists, even though most of them were even riding in bike lanes. 

Mr. Egan, I have news for you. If the roads are dangerous and crowded, it’s not the cyclists that are to blame.

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14 August 2011