On Cycling and Cycling Infrastructure

Yesterday, I was sideswiped by an SUV while out riding my bike. I would love to say that this was a rarity and a result of the driver swerving to avoid a baby crawling in the road. Sadly, it was actually the 6th time in the 3 years I’ve lived in Toronto (not even mentioning the countless close calls). And it was the result of someone not looking or signaling before turning into a parking lot.

Applying ice to the worst injuries on my swollen and battered body.

Applying ice to the worst injuries on my swollen and battered body.

There is a lot of tension between drivers and cyclists in Toronto, that goes without saying. And I don’t care about that. I really don’t — if you are defined by your choice of mode of transportation, good for you. But, I am not. I am merely out there trying to get from point A to point B, or perhaps trying to train or unwind after a long day at work.

What I am trying to say is that this animosity is beyond pointless. Drivers presumably do not want to hit and kill/maim cyclists, and cyclists would almost certainly prefer to not be hit. So, can’t we just agree that it is sensible and beneficial for both cyclists and drivers to start adopting proven, well-implemented, and consistent cycling infrastructure and traffic signaling?

There is a lot of push for a minimum grid, which is a good thing. However, I genuinely believe that we could improve safety a great deal with very little new investment: 1) Consistency — don’t implement bike lanes that disappear and reappear at random (imagine the outrage if the equivalent happened for car lanes…), 2) Eliminate on-street parking adjacent to bike lanes, 3) Have an enforcement blitz on cars blocking bike lanes, 4) Safe intersections, with advance green for cyclists (okay, this one is probably more pricey, but is probably one of the most important pieces missing from the current infrastructure).

I could go on, but the doctor advised me to not spend too long at a computer because of the possibility of a minor concussion.

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