Riding on wheels of fear

The other day, I had a great conversation with a friend who gave me the idea for this article.

She’s mainly a car user, but she does bike and will commute when the weather is good and the distance is reasonable. 

But this wasn’t about her experience on a bike, it was what she remembers about cyclists when she drives.

Cyclists ride on the sidewalk, they ride on the wrong side of the road against traffic. She’s run into these people but never “run” into these people.

She knows that there are many more cyclists she doesn’t see because they blend in with traffic. She doesn’t sound angry when talking people on bicycles. 

She is the model of road user that makes traffic run smoother.

Just recently a Castanet forum user started a thread titled “To Pedestrians & Cyclists” asking vulnerable road users to think more about being visible to others.

The thread did devolve a bit into a place to rant about the latest individual wearing all black, sporting headphones, and having their eyes glued to their phones as they crossed the road.

The Surrey RCMP posted a nail-biting video example of how visible someone on foot would be to someone driving responsibly. The dashcam footage can be found here.

While we’ve covered the bad choices that vulnerable road users can make, let’s also remember how drivers come into play too.

Article after article are being released to describe the dire necessity of not allowing ourselves to be distracted while behind the wheel of a car.

No matter if a driver puts the phone up to their ear or if they use a hands-free device, being distracted while driving a car is the equivalent to being drunk.

Even with all of these issues causing us not to do our best while on the road, we still survive as a society. The fatalities are sad and almost always preventable. 

The anger and dismissal of others has to stop. The rage and the fear has to be defeated.

I’ve started using an app on my phone that automatically detects when I’m driving. If I am, it intercepts my calls so I don’t hear them, it mutes any notifications from texts or emails.

Other friends who are using the app also can check before they try and contact me to see if I’m in the car.

CAN-BIKE offers courses that each cyclist should take to learn the best practices of following the rules of the road.

Sadly, I don’t have a resource to offer to pedestrians. Nothing but common sense.

Governments we hope will adopt Vision Zero because it’s the right thing to do. 

Someday, probably not in my lifetime -- maybe in my daughter’s — we’ll see a day where the only deaths that occur are due to natural causes.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Grind My Gears articles

About the Author

As a youngster on two feet, a teenager on two wheels, then a young adult on four wheels, Landon has found that life is really about using all modes of transportation. Currently a cycling advocate with the Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition he tries to lower road rage on both sides.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories