OK, enough is enough. Every day on my way home I encounter the same three cyclists on Kings Road, all riding on the sidewalk against traffic.I recently stumbled across this letter as published in the online edition of The Post. I don't usually read my papers online; I prefer the old-fashioned physical paper that I can sit on the couch or lay in bed reading. I was therefore unaware until I found this that online letters in The Post can be commented on; apparently my letter drew a plethora of comments.
Putting aside that riding this way carries seven to nine times the crash risk of riding properly with the flow of traffic, the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act states, in Section 171, Subsection 2: “No person shall ride a bicycle, tricycle, or similar machine on a sidewalk....”
About a month ago, I had an RCMP cruiser pull up beside me. The officer said, “You’re in the middle of the lane,” and asked me to pull to the edge.
Kings Road’s lanes are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle and the Nova Scotia Driver’s Safety Handbook says: “Bicyclists may occupy as much of a traffic lane as their safety warrants.”
Well, on Kings Road, that’s the whole lane; if I don’t control the lane, I get buzzed by passing cars.
We have cycle-mounted officers in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality now and they’re CAN-BIKE certified; they know I’m allowed to do this and why I do it. The RCMP apparently still needs to get with the program on that.
The worst thing is that this officer pesters me, the law-abiding cyclist in traffic, and doesn’t bother with the cyclists on the sidewalk who are breaking the law.
In fact, I’ve never heard of a cyclist being stopped for riding on the sidewalk. Some people continue in this dangerous practice for that very reason: “It’s not policed, anyway,” they’ll say. No wonder there are so many!
I appreciate the RCMP’s concern for my safety but they need to focus on the cyclists who really are in danger: those who aren’t riding in accordance with traffic law.
George from Sydney writes: I agree with you. But it's also time the police look into all these bikes with motors on them or the electric ones. I drive a motorcycle, I neen a licence, insurance, bike inspected and the bike licenced. now all these motor driven cycles are riding around with no licence, inspection etc. These bike can goup to 35kms. it won't be long before there is an accident. It's time this was looked into.You're absolutely right, George, and I agree, except for the part about electric bicycles. Actually, electric bicycles cannot legally provide assistance above 30 km/h; if you want to go faster than that, you have to pedal. Therefore, electric bicycles aren't any faster than ordinary bicycles since an experienced cyclist over level ground with no wind on an unpowered bike can easily maintain between 25 and 35 km/h. I myself have been known to hit 40+ km/h under ideal conditions.
Louise McNeil from Glace Bay, NS writes: Also, what about those people who refuse to wear a helmet while bicycling? I thought there was a law against that???You're right, Louise; there is a law requiring helmet use, specifically NSMVA 170A (2): "No person shall ride on or operate a bicycle unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin. " Not a problem for me, though; I make a point of wearing a helmet at all times, particularly after a fall where one probably saved my life.
MAKE PEOPLE WEAR A HELMET WHEN RIDING THEIR BIKE!!!!
Do you know what their melon would look like if a car hit them and their head bounced off the road if they weren't wearing a helmet? Not a pretty sight, believe me!!
If the police aren't going to enforce the law, then why bother having a law????
Cyclist in Sydney from Nova Scotia writes: They're not enforcing it because they know that the city hasn't provided any infrastructure to make it enforceable. Sydney is the least bicycle, walking, running, etc. city I've ever been in my entire life. And that's outside of the fact that on top of the inaccessibility of the roads to cyclists, the motorists act like maniacs and some force you right off the road. I don't blame those cyclists for being up on the sidewalk, it's a hell of a lot safer than riding on the street. With one of the larger cycling communities of Nova Scotia in Sydney and surrounding areas, it's time for the city to recognize that and work to accommodate them in a much better and safer way than they have.Sydney is only "unfriendly to bicyclists" if you subscribe to the theory that the roads are meant specifically for cars. The thing is, they're not; pedestrians, horse and buggy and, yes the bicycle itself, were all on the roads long before the Ford Model T was even a gleam in Henry Ford's eye. Kings Road, for example, has been there for well over two centuries; if you find any cars on Kings Road in 1809 then one of your fellow time travelers hasn't been respecting the timeline...
Mitch from North Sydney, Nova Scotia writes: John,As I said in my letter, I understand the RCMP are only trying to protect me; the problem is, their advice could get me, and any cyclist who takes it, killed. As the old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
you quoted a saftey handbook as your reasoning for riding in the middle of a lane on King St.
You are correct about the people riding the bikes on the sidewalk. Motor Vehicle Act, Section 171, sub-section 2 . . .
However, the same section, sub-section 3 deals with your infraction, and I quote: as near as practicable to the extreme right of the main travelled portion of the highway.
Section 183 sub-seciton 5 says that you should have a bell or horn. Bet you don't have that.
I have a friend that lives in Ontario, you will thank God that he doesn't live here... he puts the fear of God into by trying to get as close to you as he can without actually hitting you. He states that he owns the road. He pays to licence his vehicle and his driver's licence, those licincing fees goes towards upgrading the road. He pays taxes thru purchasing gas, which is supposed to go to upgrading and maintening our roads.
Do byclists pay taxes to upgrade the infracture? No licence, no operators licence, no gas tax.
If you are concerned that you are getting buzzed on King's Road, why not take an alternate route. When I lived in Winnipeg MB, I soon learnt not to take Portage Ave, which averages 8 lanes wide. Scary.
You taking 1/2 the lane and the other cyclists riding on the sidewalk are equally wrong.
You might think your right, but don't try to be dead right making your point. The RCMP are only trying to protect you from people like my friend who lives in Ontario.
chris from sydney, ns writes: I just got hit on my bike in front of soundeffects because the lady did look left while she was turning left....stupid, and as for Kings road forget it. I was biking there today with my son and the traffic is crazy , and you(John A. Ardelli) expect us to bike on the road. It would be an honor to take you biking on Kings road and then you (John A. Ardelli) tell me where you prefer to ride......Don't be shy let the folks of Sydney know your choice.In fact, Chris, if you want me to take you riding on Kings Road, just drop me a line; I'll be happy to give you some pointers. I'm willing to bet that most of your trouble was due to some minor mistakes, easily fixed; a vast majority of cyclists who report trouble on Kings Road tend to make one mistake in particular: riding too far right. When you do that, motorists tend to buzz you; for the most part, they don't do that if you claim the lane.
Jo from Sydney, NS writes: During the nice weather, I take my young son biking around Sydney nearly every day. He's 6, and loves riding his bike. We ride on the sidewalks. I've taught him to always give the right-of-way to pedestrians. If the sidewalks are really busy, like on Charlotte Street, we dismount and push our bikes. We dismount to cross the crosswalks. I have 2 reasons for using the sidewalks this way. The first is...when I'm driving my car, there's nothing more annoying than a bike hogging the lane, tying up traffic....a big line-up of po'd drivers behind the bike. The second reason is....what if my son happens to turn a little into the lane? Will he be run over by a drunk driver, who then gets away with murder, after blaming the accident on my son? The heck with that. When I take my child out for a bike ride, it's his safety that comes first. As long as we're respectful and courteous to the pedestrians, I don't see how we could be bothering anyone. As a matter of fact, most people have nothing but smiles when they see my son peddling along, greeting passers-by with his pleasant hellos .Actually, Jo, I agree with your choice regarding your six-year-old. The full text of NSMVA 171 (2) reads: "No person shall ride a bicycle, tricycle, or similar machine on a sidewalk, provided, nothing in this Section shall be deemed or construed to prevent the use of velocipedes or similar machines by children on a sidewalk in a public square, park, city or town." The law provides specific exception for children to ride their bicycles on sidewalks.
One other thing about bikes on the road.....I thought that vehicles were supposed to be able to keep up with the flow of traffic.....bikes on the road tie up the traffic. Accidents waiting to happen, in my opinion. Loosen up, Mr. Ardelli....I suspect your bike shorts may be too tight.
amy from NS writes: I agree with Mitch, cyclists should use the far right side of the road. I myself have witnessed Mr. Ardelli Taking up entire lanes while travelling much slower than the posted speed limit and also weaving in and out of lanes potentially causing injury to himself and others. It seems as though Mr. Ardelli would like all vehicles to yield to him as he cycles along Kings Rd as this is not his first letter to the editor stating how he would like things to beI do not "weave" in and out of lanes; that implies I don't even do a proper shoulder check. If I have to make a lateral move, I shoulder check, signal my intention (if there's traffic coming) and only once it's safe do I make my move. Try watching me more closely next time you see me; you'll see what I mean.
Sonny Lamatina from Out the country that way, nova scotia writes: Amy from NS: You are absolutely right, Mr. Ardelli expets every vehicle on the road to yield to him. He's on a bike. Motor vehicles yield to slower vehicles. There is no option here. Bikes rule. Motor vehicles do not have a right to be on the road. It's a privlege. Earn it. Share the road.Sonny, I can't tell if you're trying to be sarcastic here or not. If so, ironically, you actually make a good point. ;)
Steve Mac from Nova Scotia writes: As Mitch said as near as practicable to the extreme right of the main traveled portion of the highway However, since it states practicable taking an entire lane is allowed if needed, especially in sydney where cars disregard cyclists and the shoulders of many roads are either in terrible shape or non existant. I think biking on the side walks is fine for younger children or people learning. An easy answer to this is to just put in bike lanes like other cities. My brother and friend were forced off the road when an oncoming car pulled into there lane to pass another car on a turn. The police and ambulance came were called out and the driver of the car walked away without even a ticket. If it were a car or motorcycle he had forced off the road there would have been tickets and fines but because it happened to a cyclist there was nothing done.I agree with you up to where you recommend bike lanes; there I don't agree. Actually, bike lanes cause more accidents than they prevent. For more of my thoughts on that subject, I invite you to read my earlier posting, "Dangers of Bike Lanes," on this blog.