Sir: For some months now there have been many editorials and letters printed regarding bicycle traffic in Chatham-Kent. As an avid user of a bicycle to go about my daily business in Chatham, I would like to put in my two cents.
Firstly, cyclists and motorist have a responsibility to abide by the road traffic act; that is a given.
Although most motorists in Chatham are considerate of cyclists on the roads, there are many who are not. Near accidents happen every day because we have car lanes, but few bike lanes.
Every day when my husband and I are out on our bikes, at least one inconsiderate driver has almost run us off the road. They do this by passing too close to us, or, passing on the outside of us and turning in front of us to make a right-hand turn.
Drivers are in too much of a hurry to slow down. They would not do this to another car. It is no wonder bikers often illegally use the sidewalks to protect themselves.
Riding on the sidewalks, on the other hand, can be a hazard to pedestrians. Someone is going to get hurt … or worse.
There are no bike lanes on main roads such as Park Avenue, McNaughton Avenue West, St. Clair Street, Queen Street, Grand Avenue and Richmond Street. This is a grave safety issue for the cyclist.
The question is not whether you should fine cyclist for riding on sidewalks as another reader suggests or fining inconsiderate car drivers for traffic violations against cyclists, but what can we do to make the roads safer for all.
I would suggest some sort of road safety education for both motorists and cyclists. This should clarify responsibilities for all traffic. We could all benefit by updating our knowledge on what we should and should not be doing.
Safe cycling lanes could be installed on major roads or some sort of alternative to accommodate all traffic; i.e. widen sidewalks, put a narrow path down the grass boulevards when available, etc. There are lots of alternatives.
There have been multiple studies done on this subject at a great cost to the taxpayer and have been ignored or shown lack of interest by our council.
Cyclists feel like second-class citizens because our council is treating them in that manner. We all pay taxes and are entitled to safe roads on which to travel.