This column is a tongue in cheek correspondence between Maddie the Motorist, and Byron the Bicyclist. It is meant to educate as well as entertain the reader.
Dear Motorist Maddie;
In the last article, we discussed making sure motorists don’t squeeze bicyclists to the curb when turning right. Slow down and give the bicyclist space.
Now I would like to discuss safe passing of bicyclists.
While bicycling, my bicycle wheels need to be five feet or 1.5 metres from the curb to give me room to avoid catch basins, garbage and the occasional pothole. From the wheel to my mirror is another half metre. The Highway Traffic Act then calls for another five feet or 1.5 metres between your vehicle and the cyclist.
That totals 3.5 metres or 11.5 feet from the curb, about a whole lane.
How fast can the motorist go past a bicyclist? Personally, I think at least 10 kilometres per hour below the posted limit. The closer you are to me, the slower you should drive.
Squeezing by me at the speed limit scares the ___ out of me. And please do not honk! I might panic, head for the curb and crash. I lost a tooth and broke my eyeglasses doing that once. No that wasn’t caused by a motorist but by my own misjudgment of distance.
You mention bicyclists on the sidewalk. Yes, I know that is illegal. For years I followed the law and stayed off the sidewalk. Now I bicycle on the sidewalk going east from Eighth Street to the Y. Why? I have had just way too many drivers squeeze past me too fast on that stretch. I want to get home safe.
Signed; Byron, the bruised but safer Bicyclist
Ouch, that crash to the curb must have hurt! And thanks for letting me know I should stay five feet from you.
Got it. Yes, that is about a full lane from the curb on most roads.
That means I really should change lanes. That would be a real pain.
I might be late getting home! Just kidding.
Signed; Sometimes in a hurry Maddie.
Bert Groenenberg is a cyclist and pedestrian who has mainly biked or walked to work on Oliver Street for 30 years.