Discussing: Dangerous Driving
By Melinda Bane
(WINDSOR, ON) – I have a confession to make and I hope you won’t judge me too harshly. I can only hope you will understand why I do what I do. I know it’s shameful, but I read the online version of the Star. It isn’t because I trust their journalistic integrity, it’s more that I like to read the comments left by the readers (when they allow comments to be left). It gives me a feel for what people in Windsor are thinking. And honestly, Windsor, sometimes you truly frighten me.
Currently there is a debate before council over whether or not e-bikes should be banned from sidewalks and multipurpose trails. For some reason, whenever the topic of bikes and/or e-bikes comes up, the comments section in the Star fills to bursting with angry comments from motorists. It seems to me that Windsor drivers have a real hate-on for e-bike riders; or cyclists of any kind, for that matter.
Why is that? What is wrong with being a bike or an e-bike rider? Granted there may be a few irresponsible idiots among them, but there are plenty of irresponsible idiots in any segment of society. It’s disheartening to know how many people there are who just assume that if you don’t have a driver’s license you must be a criminal loser who lost it because of a DUI. I don’t have a driver’s license so I ride my bike when I can, and no, I did not lose my license due to a DUI. I’ve never held one because I don’t have the confidence to handle a vehicle that large.
I have no problem telling you that I am terrified to ride my bike on the streets in this City. I have chosen the safety of the sidewalk over death in the streets several times.
Contrary to popular belief most cyclists respect the right of way of pedestrians but it seems very few drivers have respect for cyclists. We are looked upon as a nuisance, at best; some people out there actually wish us harm. Here are a couple of examples of comments left in reference to this topic, just to give you a little taste of the venom spewed at us.
- are bicycles allowed to ride in the middle of the road or turn from a car lane…why do they…after a few get crunched on the road things will change…and why is it that most e-bike riders look like drunks who lost there [sic] drivers licence for impaired driving.
- The things are too quiet. I have almost been hit by one myself. It was not because I wasn’t paying attention either. Ordinary bicycles can be lifted with one finger. There is a lot more force on impact from an e-bike. When a child, more prone to sudden changes in direction, ie. darting, gets seriously injured or killed by one then the topic will become really heated, won’t it. Many do not follow the rules of the road and/or are simply morons. Those with the smarts illegally soup them up so the e-bike will do over 50 klicks. Ordinary bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks either. Many who own e-bikes are a) never licenced, or b) have lost their licence for the usual. Those are the ones that can now tow three shopping carts of looted empties to the beer store instead of only one.
- He is looking out for his own interest..They should be banned from sidewalks they should be banned from parks as well.. They are worse then people on bikes.. They are a lot wider then a bike and you cant hear them coming at that speed.. People talk and say bikes are no different.. Sorry you wont see a kid on a bike doing 32 KPH on a sidewalk. I would make them get a registration as well.. Or are the DUI guys worried they cant get one..You know because they lost their licence to drive a motorized vehicle. They are to wide to be on sidewalks and or paths period. MOST don’t follow traffic rules. Two days ago one went through a 4way stop in front of me right in front of two other stopped drivers.. I was kinda hoping it was my turn to go.
- If I have to have a license and insurance so should they. Most people who drive them have had DUI’s.
- But I agree people need to learn how to drive and they also back log traffic they should have international hit a e bike day…people will stop riding.
And that is just a small example of the comments from a single article. This happens every time Sometimes it’s even worse.
We’re not wanted on the sidewalks because we are supposedly a danger to pedestrians. We are also not wanted on the roads where we are supposed to be AND we are actually in danger from the vehicles who apparently WANT to run us down. And then, to add insult to potential injury, some motorists think that it is ok to park in the designated bike paths we DO have which forces us into the street once more. Where the hell do you expect us to ride?
You know? There are a few benefits to people riding instead of driving:
- Cyclists and e-riders are far lighter than cars and trucks so they cause much less wear and tear on our roads which can save millions of dollars on road maintenance in the long run. You would think Council would jump on this considering they don’t want to pay for road repairs anyway.
- Minor accidents, when they occur with bikes and e-bikes, generally cause less property damage than accidents involving a motor vehicle resulting in fewer insurance claims.
- Cycling is healthier than driving.
- There would be fewer emissions polluting our air and, here in Windsor, we need all the help we can get in THAT regard.
Councilor Gignac had this to say. “I felt very strongly that we needed some clear guidelines to where they would be acceptable, I think runners and walkers are entitled to manoeuvre along recreational trails without worrying about something swooping up on them and knocking them over.”
Fair enough, but what about the e-bike riders you are tossing out into the road? Do you not realize the danger that they, and all other cyclists, face from Windsor drivers. Cyclists won’t simply be “knocked over”. We face possible catastrophic injury or even death if we come up against a car or truck. If you are going to ban cyclists, “e” or otherwise, from anywhere then you damn well better make sure they have a safe place to travel.
Dear Council, here is the solution for you since you all seem to be incapable of coming up with it yourselves. Pony up the 50 grand Councillor Halberstadt wanted for expanding bike paths in Windsor, then triple it. First you expand the street level bike paths so that the streets are safer to travel and cyclists and e-riders will be less inclined to ride on the sidewalks. Then you go about twinning the nature trails; one path for pedestrians, one path for the bikes and e-bikes, side by side. Everybody has safe access that way. How bloody hard is that to figure out? I mean really! You can take the money out of the $70 million+ budget for that useless pool you all thought was such a great freaking idea. I think keeping Windsor cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads and trails is a better one.
Can’t you people actually do something good for the people of Windsor, for a change?
So tell me, dear People, what are your thoughts on the matter? You can leave a comment below, e-mail me at email@example.com or find me on Facebook. I look forward to your insights.
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