A trend toward more active transportation is a good thing for a number of reasons.
Walking or cycling to work is good for a person’s health, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and, with the price of gas these days, is a little easier on the pocketbook.
Locally, the Town of Smithers is encouraging the trend with its Active Transportation Plan and the organization Cycle 16 is about to break ground on its multi-use Smithers to Telkwa trail.
Next week is Go by Bike Week in B.C. and, with the improving weather, we are likely to start seeing more two-wheelers on the street.
The big issue here is safety.
For the purpose of traffic laws, bicycles are considered vehicles. As such, cyclists have the same rights to the road as motorists.
That also means they have the same responsibilities.
They must obey all traffic rules including signalling turns, travelling with the flow of traffic, stopping at stop signs and red lights, yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
In short, they must act as if they are driving a motorized vehicle.
Unfortunately, many do not.
Our message to cyclists is to make sure you are following all the rules, including wearing a helmet, for your own safety.
If you want to share the road, you have a responsibility to act accordingly. Remember, in a collision, regardless of who is at fault, a car or truck wins 100 per cent of the time.
Motorists should remember this as well. Even if a bicyclist were to be at fault in a collision, if they came to great harm or even death, them being at fault does little to ease one’s conscience.
The bottom line for both is to not necessarily expect the other to be doing the right thing; be aware and beware.
As we observe Go by Bike Week and transition into the heart of cycling season, let’s all, cyclists and motorists alike, do everything we possibly can to keep each other safe out there.