There have been waves of letters to the editor and calls to phone-in shows, many with a distinctly anti-cycling bias, recently following the June 19 collision between a group of cyclists on the road and a truck pulling a horse trailer. That incident led to charges against the cyclists and the motorist.
I expect there will be another wave of similar letters and callers following today's publication of Luisa D'Amato's column of opinion in today's Record, especially with the print edition of the column ending near a photo of a cyclist who was hit after riding off a sidewalk into an intersection, where he was hit and dragged by a car.
Tsk, tsk, the respondents seem to be saying. Cyclists don't really belong on the road, because they don't interact well cars. They break the rules. They get in our (the motorists') way. And frankly, they shouldn't be on sidewalks, either, because we don't expect to see them there (because perhaps motorists expect to see them on the road?).
I may have conveniently forgotten, but were there calls or letters after a cyclist was hit in Puslinch earlier this week by a vehicle that was obviously passing too close (the passenger side mirror was knocked off -- the apparent cause of knocking the cyclist to the road)?
When a law-biding cyclist is struck down and injured, or even killed as in the cases of Barrie Conrod and Tiberiu David, the public sympathies seem to be with the motorist, who was having a bad day, or was distracted, or possibly fell asleep. Really, the motorist can't be considered at fault for this. And if the cyclist can be identified as having any failing whatsoever -- wearing dark clothing, not wearing a helmet (which for adults, is perfectly legal), weaving around the broken glass and crumbling road edges, riding through a crosswalk (the same crosswalks that pedestrians run through daily to beat the light) -- well, it can't really be the motorist's fault, can it?
Perhaps someone could write or call that motorists should be banned from roads, because they generally drive too fast, ignore traffic signs and signals and cause millions of dollars of property damage, injury and loss of life. Come to a council committee meeting sometime and listen to the number of presentations from citizens about the need for neighbourhood traffic calming or reduced speed limits because of the actions of -- wait for it -- motorists.
The millions of dollars spent on stoplight cameras, reduced speed zones, increased speed enforcement in construction zones and road-altering trafffic-calming measures simply prove that motorists are our greatest roadway problem.
Someone should do that. It would be refreshing.