This column is an imaginary correspondence between Maddie the Motorist and Byron the Bicyclist. It is meant to educate as well as entertain the reader. Today we introduce Patty the Pedestrian
Dear Byron the Bicyclist:
Hi, I am Patty the Pedestrian. I have been reading your letters with Maddie the Motorist. I would like to join your conversation.
As walkers, we already share the sidewalk with wheelchairs, scooters, skate boarders, in-line skaters and the occasional kick scooter. But more often, I meet bicyclists. Aren’t bicyclists supposed to be on the road, not the sidewalk?
Signed, Patty the Pedestrian
Dear Patty the Pedestrian:
Yes, the Highway Traffic Act states bicyclists are supposed to be on the road, not the sidewalk. In fact, until just a few years ago, I rarely rode on a sidewalk. This is even after a pickup truck passenger yelled: “Hey, why don’t you ride on the sidewalk!”
Even with 60 years of bicycling under my belt, riding on the road in some places became just too scary. Vehicles pass too close and too fast. They are supposed to stay at least five feet or 1.5 metres from me. That means changing lanes. So now I ride on the sidewalk from Eighth Avenue to the “Y” intersection.
Yes, we do see some bicyclists on the sidewalk. But it could be because the cyclist feels safer on the sidewalk. Or they don’t know the rules. Maybe both. In practice, as a pedestrian, I have never had an issue with a cyclist on the sidewalk.
The world isn’t just about rules but also about accommodating each other. The more drivers accommodate bicyclists on the road, we might find fewer bicyclists on the sidewalk.
Signed; Byron the Bicyclist
Bert Groenenberg is a cyclist and pedestrian who has mainly biked or walked to work on Oliver Street for 30 years.