Monday, September 26, 2011

Bicycle Plague in Fredericton Continues

     Yes, I have noticed too, that I may be slacking a little in the blogging department. Can you blame me though? As we roll into autumn, bicycle news tends to slow down. After all, cycling is mainly a summer activity, or just whenever there isn't any snow from April until November.
     All year, bicycles on the sidewalk seem to be a rather large problem downtown. Actually, anywhere in the city. Why is it they speed down the sidewalk instead of being on the road? Are they afraid of the cars or do they just lack the skills to bike in traffic? I'm not pointing out that anyone who bikes on the sidewalk is a wuss by any means, but if you're that afraid to be on the road, it wouldn't hurt to learn a few rules and bicycle handling skills.
     Is there something the city could do to help this problem? I've said before, build bike lanes downtown, but that will definitely not solve the problem. It would take a few bikes off the sidewalk, but there will always be the few that like to bend the rules or just do not care.
    Maybe something as simple as a sign would be enough to deter a few people from riding their bikes on the sidewalk.
     An adult on a bicycle has the capability of cruising around 15-25km/h. If a car is pulling out of a driveway, they are not expecting a bicycle to be zooming down the sidewalk. If you hit the car, you are liable for your own injuries because you are breaking the law in the first place.
     I am not the police, so I cannot enforce this by-law. If you are going to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk, at least use common sense and ALWAYS ring your bell when coming up behind people. Remember, if the police actually did something, there is a $50 fine.


  1. Agree will everything above. Contacted the police a couple of years ago about this...they called me back to tell me that they were enforcing on the trails? Perhaps signage such you have above would be a start. Funding could come out of a pool from the fines given out, and while we are at it perhaps double the fines when in an area with bike lanes.

  2. You've never been hit by a car, have you? When you do, it will certainly change your perspective on this matter.

    I have been hit by cars. Twice. The first time was a hit-and-run -- a car came from behind at 60kph and hit me, causing me to barrel roll into a busy intersection. I almost died. I now have permanent damage to my hip and shoulder, not to mention the $500 ambulance bill that I had to cover.

    The second time, a person in a stopped car opened her door right as I was passing by. No time to stop or swerve around it. I hit it right on the edge, and it stopped me dead, from a speed of about 20kph. Aside from damage to my brake lever, handlebar, and shifter, I had severe bruises and a hematoma. I rode my bike up to the hospital afterwards, despite the pain, because I didn't want to pay another $500 ambulance bill.

    Ever see what happens when a cyclist who is waiting at a stop light on the road gets struck by a dump truck? I have. He'd still be alive if he wasn't legally required to ride on the road. I'm sure his family takes solace in the fact that the law helps protect pedestrians from all those hooligan sidewalk cyclists who routinely smash into them. Although, I've never actually seen a cyclist hit anyone -- strange, considering how many cars I've seen hit pedestrians and cyclists alike... and telephone poles, trees, guardrails, wildlife, parking meters, convenience stores, ditches, and especially other cars. It's almost as if cars are dangerous by their very nature or something!

    Do you have any statistics about how many pedestrians have been killed by cyclists on the sidewalk in Canada? Is the number greater than zero? By contrast, how many cyclists are killed by cars on the road every year? Given the discrepancy, how can you possibly justify your position that bicycles should always ride alongside cars?

    Having said all that -- I still ride my bicycle on the road, or on a bike trail the odd time that one is available. However, I knowingly risk my life every time I do so, because our municipal and provincial governments are too ignorant and apathetic to realize (or at least to address) the dangers inherent in our road infrastructure.

    The solution is to separate cars from bicycles and pedestrians entirely. Have cars on the road, and both pedestrians and bicycles on paved multi-use paths, with a line painted between the cycling/rollerblading/skateboarding/pogoing/whatever portion and the walking portion. Vancouver has been doing this, with great results. Why not here in NB?

    My proposed solution would actually save lives, and make both cycling and walking much more enjoyable, faster, and safer to boot. Your proposed solution (erecting obnoxious signs telling people not to ride on the sidewalk) wouldn't save any lives or otherwise improve anyone's ability to do anything. Sure, my solution would be more expensive, but how many lives would have to be saved to justify the expense?

  3. No I do not have any statistics. I am waiting for the pedestrian study to be completed before I come out with any facts.

    You make it sound like it's always the cyclists fault when it comes to accidents. Sadly, we cannot always prevail against cars, due to the several thousand pound difference. Like I've said before, the mentality of motorists needs to change before any big changes happen in terms of getting bicycles off the sidewalk. Stricter fines need to be in place for motorists and cyclists alike. For instance, if the police would actually patrol the roads, they might catch some of the idiotic drivers who think speeding and driving recklessly is making up for what they lack in the head.