Stylocycle’s Blog


Take the lane!
May 18, 2010, 3:01 am
Filed under: around town, commute by bike, hazards

Our provincial legislators are considering a change to our traffic laws that would require that drivers maintain a minimum 3-foot distance from cyclists when passing us on the left.

Dammit! While it’s an idea with some practical merits, it further entrenches the popular idea that cyclists belong shoved over on the right hand side of the road (where most of the gutter hazards are).

But here’s the thing that really sticks in my craw. Under current traffic laws, cyclists already have a right to be *in* the lane, taking up the usual space of one vehicle. Here’s what the local paper has to say, “Under current laws bicycles have as much right to the road as a vehicle.” (The Record: http://news.therecord.com/News/CanadaWorld/article/712968) The article goes along to explain that “[a]long some streets, such as King Street through downtown Kitchener, cyclists are encouraged by the city to take the whole lane. Drivers do not always appreciate that.” (Ibid).

Drivers don’t always appreciate that?

Whether appreciate here refers to their entitlement issues or comprehension issues, I leave to your interpretation, but I”m going to close this one out by quoting from “Shit My Dad Says”:

“You’re riding up this guy’s ass because why? Because you are in such a hurry to be on time for that nothing that you do?!”

And the irony is that when those drivers don’t appreciate us riding in the middle of the road, where we are legally entitled to be, we are invariably faster or at least moving at the same pace as the rest of traffic. Cars may beat us off the block, but in dense city traffic, the cyclist is more efficient. That’s why we have huge companies that are built on the efficiencies of bike travel for messenger services. Duh.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Why should the two be exclusive? Here we can take the lane AND drivers are expected to give us 2m (6 feet) when overtaking. In fact, I find that happens more when I take the lane, gutter driving encourages them to pass closely.

Comment by Andy in Germany

Agreed, Andy… but it appears that this law change will be well-publicized, while the old law is not well-known (it’s unclear from the news but reads as though this new law will supercede the other).

Comment by stylocycle




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