A few days before New Year’s I noticed a white bicycle propped up on shoulder of the upbound lanes of the Claremont Access in Hamilton. It had flowers, balloons, and a laminated placard tied to it. I assumed it told the story of why the bike was there. I suspected it was some type of memorial. It saddened me to think that someone lost their life so tragically. I didn’t know if it was an adult or a child. Either way, it saddened me.
After passing by it a few more times in the next week I decided to pull over to learn more.
It turns out it was a fatality. A fifty-three year old man was hit riding his bike up the Claremont on December 2rd. There’s an article in The Hamilton Spectator that provides more details. There’s also a good article in Raise The Hammer highlighting the need for safer streets.
As I stood by the side of the road thinking of the unnecessary pain this man’s family was going through, I couldn’t help but think about all the times I rode my bike, or ran, along a road only to have a vehicle not make any attempt to move over as they drove by. I haven’t been hit, but if it wasn’t for my own attentiveness I could have been several times.
I wondered why so many drivers don’t seem to understand the concept of sharing the road with cyclist and runners. I refuse to believe it’s because they don’t care. It must be because they’re not thinking about how easy it is for a cyclist or runner to be hit. All it takes is one instant of inattentiveness on the driver’s part or the cyclist or runner—boom—a life ends.
If a cyclist or runner move slightly in towards the road one half step—that’s all— a driver can kill another person if they’re hugging the outside edge of the lane, like too many drivers seem to do. No person should try to argue that the cyclist or runner should never take that step inward. It can’t be done. We can’t ride or cycle in a perfectly straight line, nor can a driver keep his car perfectly straight.
When you see a cyclist or runner all you need do is move closer to the centre lane, if there’s no oncoming traffic go ahead and move part way into the oncoming lane, or wait for the oncoming traffic to pass, then move over. It’s that simple.
Share the road.
When you see a cyclist or runner on the road remind yourself that accidents can happen in a heartbeat. No one wants anyone to get hurt.
Help make our roads safer for everyone.