Friday, July 18, 2008

Ottawa police will be cracking down on cyclists on sidewalks

Personally, I think this is stupid.

Having been almost hit by cyclists, I understand why there is a rule.

But riding on most busy streets is dangerous.

I don't care if there is a "bike lane". Cars criss-cross those lanes during lane shifts and turns. They're still dangerous.

To me, there has to be some way to accommodate cyclists on sidewalks.

When I think that most sidewalks at most times are empty, it seems absurd to ban them outright.

Some sidewalks should be off limits, like the ones on Rideau street, for instance. Obviously there are too many people there for bike-riding to be practical.

But some of the busy streets near my house hardly have anyone on their sidewalks.

If you want to ride in the street, you have to be reasonably fast. Some people are not fast on their bikes. You expect an old lady on her bike to pedal fast enough to keep up with traffic?

We could build alternatives. In Gatineau, there are some streets with bike paths next to the sidewalk. On many streets, the sidewalk cuts through a patch of grass. The side closest to the street could be converted to a bike path.

I think we should try harder to accommodate bike riders. Realistically. I think bike lanes suck. I find in the world of transportation and traffic, there's a lot of theory that doesn't conform to reality. I wish people who decided on these issues took into account the way things really are.

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