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January 17, 2011

Comments

RANTWICK

Wow, I'm a Thunder Bay native too and this just bums me out. It is indeed sad that you can count on these debates like gravity, every year, in cities and towns all over the place. Ugh.

Scott

Non cyclists just don't understand! Unfortunately cycling just isn't on some people's radar.

Nice to see some communities on the right track!
http://www.communitybikeshop.org/?p=173

I would love to see Waterloo have something like this.

Ryan

Listening to the radio just minutes ago, they spent two minutes solid talking about how a "car went into guard rail, car lost control and spun out, car went into ditch" and so on...

How do we go about banning cars on the road during the winter?

Cyclist's Wife

First off I want to make it really clear that I support cyclists. My husband is an avid cyclist. Cycling is good for the environment and good exercise for the cyclist. Unless we're going to ban cars from driving in winter because of increased danger, I can't see the justice in banning bikes.

However I really, really hate that people choose to bike in winter. I personally know a guy who skidded out on black ice on a bike and had to have his ankle surgically reconstructed with several big metal pins. Happily it happened in an empty parking lot. I have had to slam on my brakes in really crappy driving conditions because some nut is falling off his bike because he can't pedal properly in the slush and churned up snow in a quasi-ploughed bike lane.

When good, responsible drivers (never mind about the crazy, aggressive ones) are smacking into one another because of bad road conditions, it's insane to be out on a bike. In car VS bike, it's almost always bike that loses.

Think about the increased maintenance you have to do to keep your bike in good condition with the wet and the salt. If you choose to have your "beater bike" for winter and don't care about maintenance, just think about how rusty crappy brakes and other bits and bobs will affect how you are able to operate your vehicle.

There are alternative ways to getting around in winter without being on bikes. Take the bus (both universities provide bus passes on the student cards). Walk. Carpool. Save the planet that way. As someone who loves a cyclist, I am asking you. Please, please think about your options before deciding to take your bike out in the snow.

Locklin

"When good, responsible drivers (never mind about the crazy, aggressive ones) are smacking into one another because of bad road conditions"

Those people are not being responsible. It is already unlawful to operate a motor vehicle when you cannot do so safely.

I'm not sure the point in bringing up the cyclist who hurt himself. I can dig up hundreds of examples of motorists hurting or killing themselves, passengers or other people who happen to be nearby.

To borrow your last line, please think of the hazard you pose when you act like you have some sort of right to operate a heavy steel motor-vehicle in public space at a high rate of speed regardless of conditions.

Ryan

Cyclist's Wife, I disagree.

I rely on bike by choice. Walking to places can be too far. Don't know anyone to carpool with. And buses don't run often enough or come close to the places I need to go.

So my only alternative is to ride a bike or drive and seeing as I have neither a car or license, my only option is to bike.

Remember, you need to have your vehicle in control at all times, and poor road conditions (ice, snow, slush) is not an excuse. You lose control on the roads this time of year, the police MAY sympathize with you, however your insurance company won't, which means much higher insurance rates in the future.

I can handle my bike quite well, so why should I be punished for motorists who can't handle their cars?

Scott

I agree that cycling is dangerous in winter due to weather/road conditions. Fortunately the roads ARE ridable most of the time with proper gear and handling. The real problem is roads are designed for cars and cyclists are 'allowed' to use them via wimpy bike lanes. It would be nice to see some real support for bikers by creating more than ONE major cycling route off roads (Iron Horse).

AlanM

Sounds like the Critical Mass rides need to continue through the Winter in order to sustain awareness that bicycles are vehicles under the law and that the roads must be shared by all vehicles.

RandB

It would be nice if the "wimpy bike lanes" were plowed instead of being used as a convenient place to store snow. Also it would be nice if the plows would keep the wider lanes from being narrowed by piles of snow.

I feel safer and have much better traction when on my bicycle with studded tires than I do when walking.

The biggest problem with winter cycling, in my opinion, results from us being forced out of the bicycle lanes because of how these lanes are plowed, and our being forced to take the lane more often as the wider streets are narrowed because they are not plowed to the curb. Once we take the lane we are unable to obey an important and informal law of the road that requires all vehicles to travel no slower than the maximum speed limit unless the traffic is heavy. If it were not for our breaking this informal law I doubt that we would have developed our reputation of being scofflaws as we would not be noticed negatively as much on the roads. If the roads were plowed properly we would be less visible to the motorists and there would not be any hue and cry to get us off the roads, supposedly for our own safety.

Rob

All I can say is that we had best get used to having more cyclists on the road all year round. With the price of fuel now consistently $1.10 per litre (and likely to rise even higher come the summer) plus all the other costs associated with motor vehicles the days of the multi-car household are numbered. I am pleased to say that car has been out of the garage exactly twice this week (including today's outing just to have it serviced) and I am on my third week on the same tank of fuel. I have been cycling to work all winter and have no plans to stop any time soon.

I just wish there was a good place to cross the stupid Conestoga Parkway :(

David

@Rob - oh man, yes. That's the biggest deficiency in the bikability of our city. What are my options from getting from my home south of the parkway to my work north of it?

Lancaster - circuitous route with major hills.
University - major road, circuitous route, major hills.
Lexington - circuitous route, major hills.
King - major road.
Northfield - major road, terrible visibility, major hills.
King/rr15 - circuitous route, narrow road on the "north" side of the parkway.

I take King street. And use my mirror a lot.

Rob

@David

Yup I live in Country Hills and have to get to central Waterloo. My choices for crossing the expressway:

Trail beside Courtland - impassable not winter maintained

Homer Watson - Not too likely thanks

Courtland - I just LOVE getting squeezed out between Carwood and Mill and dealing with merging traffic at the overpass.

Pedestrian bridge nr. Courtland - some bright light decided to paint the concrete path with predictable results when it is slushy.

1st Ave - Way out of the way.

In short, not a great deal of fun

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Bill Bean


  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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