A cyclist's close encounter

To the woman in the red Hyundai SUV, who I had an encounter with on July 5:

You felt the need to alert me to your presence by leaning on your horn the entire way down Mission Road, while driving behind me. As you were only two metres away from my bicycle while travelling at 50 km/h, you were already hard to miss.

After this hair-raising encounter, you sped up and swerved into the centre turning lane to get around me. Thanks to this dangerous manoeuvre, you made it to the red light at the intersection at 25th Avenue mere seconds before I also arrived. 

Once stopped, together at the same light, you felt the need to educate me on your interpretation of the rules of the road. You called me by the wrong name (it doesn’t start with an A or an F) and attempted to enlighten me to the fact that because I don’t pay insurance (I do, I have a truck which I regularly drive) I shouldn’t be on the road that insurance pays for. That’s not how roads are paid for, by the way.

I value my health and the environment. I’ve been regularly biking to work for years, and I am well rehearsed in the laws that govern motor vehicles and bicycles in our province.

My time spent cycling the streets of Vernon has taught me that 90% of drivers are fine with giving space to cyclists, but some do not pay attention, nor do they respect bicycles as a vehicle. Cycling down Mission Road in the bike lane at the speed limit is extremely dangerous, especially at the intersection of Okanagan Avenue. I’ve had numerous times where drivers did not see me coming, and this was partly my fault for not being seen. This experience, among others, led to my decision years ago to take more space on the road than you felt that I was entitled to.

I hope the police officer who followed up on this report spoke to you more politely than our encounter. Rest assured, I will continue to report verbal abuse, dangerous driving and road rage. I’m growing weary of putting my life on the line whenever I simply want to cycle in our city.

Wishing you safety and understanding.

Mathew Keast

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