Letter: Should we reconsider bicycling safety?

Nowadays there are considerably more cyclists on the roads and incidences are sure to go up


It is disheartening to hear of a cyclist being killed or maimed by motorist. So I write this letter in hopes that there could be reconsideration of where cyclists should be on the road. In a lot of cities they are separated by barriers but still most accidents are at intersections where through and crossing traffic happens.

The law states that cyclists must use the right-hand-most section of the road. Nowadays there are considerably more cyclists on the roads and incidences are sure to go up. I wonder if riding on the left would be safer? It is stated by law it is not. But if we looked at the collisions that happen and consider if a person was on the other side could it have been avoided. Vehicles drive in opposite directions to one another and have the advantage of eye contact to see potential hazards from oncoming traffic. Cyclists do not have that advantage when riding in the same direction.

Here are some of the advantages I see in riding on the left.

Riders would see a parked car about to open their door and avoid a surprise collision because the driver did not look in the mirror before opening the door.

READ MORE: Cycling advocates say different mindset is needed for people taking it up

With eye contact to oncoming traffic on the highway you can see if someone is moving over to the shoulder toward you and although you may have to end up in the ditch perhaps you would likely live through it. As an example, last month on the Sea to Sky Highway two cyclists riding on the right were struck by a carelessly loaded pickup truck from behind. Just think, if they were on the left when a truck like that was going to hit them they may have had time to move out of the way and avoid a collision because they would have eye contact with a potential collision like this.

In intersections cars and especially long trucks making a right turn are looking to the left cross traffic and also the on-coming making their left turn. Many cyclists are being killed and maimed here as they are in the turning vehicle’s blind area. By being on the left and going through the intersection you have eye contact with the turning vehicle ahead. Any vehicle making a left turn going in your direction will see you in the cross walk or bike lane to their left. This would keep cyclists from being in a blind spot.

I myself have had near-miss incidences with cyclists. I was coming around a blind corner with oncoming traffic and a cyclist was on the road as there was virtually no shoulder to ride on and he was unaware of an impending collision. If it was my choice to hit an oncoming transport truck or the cyclist. This is not one I would wish to make.

Even as I write this letter someone has been struck again by a right-turning vehicle this noon hour.

For me I will continue to ride on the left to save myself and pay any fine that would keep me in harms way on the right.

Jim Farquharson

Horsefly, B.C.

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