My girl just came back from her first round of Assistant Store Manager training for WalMart. With all the time I was on the road and her training, it's been 2 months since I had seen her and she and I are pretty close. We see each other at least three times a week. I enjoy her company and I would like to think she enjoys mine.
Anyway, she and I went shopping for the last few things we needed for Turkey dinner over at the IGA. We stopped at the ATB for her to deposit a cheque at the drive through when she hollers and points that truck just hit someone on a bike. I look up, and see a bicycle laying on the ground and a gal sitting up but on the pavement. I run across the street and pitch in to help the rider who has a bleeding chin and is visibly in shock - the driver of the Jeep that collided with the bike is looking after the gal and I start directing traffic.
My daughter who has first aide comes up and is on the phone with 911 and starts asking the gal who is injured some questions.
This gal is not wearing a helmet, is wearing sandals, was riding on the sidewalk and although the light was green did not get off of her bike to walk it across the intersection.
I think it is high time people that we start applying some pressure to get bicycles and their riders licensed and insured.
When I was a kid we had to do a written and a practical rules of the road test before we were allowed to ride our bicycles alone. I think that we need to bring that practice back. Start teaching them in kindergarten and grade one and then test them before you let them loose. It used to cost us $10 for a two or three year license that went on the back of your bike and a paper card that you kept in your pocket that said you took the rules of the road test. Mind you that was 40 years ago too.
If you got caught riding on the sidewalk, riding across an intersection instead of walking your bike, you lost your bike to the nice police officer for a week. You also got a stern lecture by him, your tush warmed by your dad, your mother gave you the guilt trip about giving her gray hair and your teacher had to give you another test.
YES - this was all done through the physical education program at school.
That was in Yorkton Saskatchewan and I was 5 & 6 years old...so some of the details may be a bit off - but... imagine - if we started teaching KIDS the rules of the road again - hmm, by the time they were 16 they'd be better drivers than their parents who are driving cars and trucks now...
Here are some links to some resources from places like Toronto on bicycles and safety...
The Can Bike Course:
And Bike Sense from BC:
City of Vancouver:
I have got some issues after what I witnessed today:
Firstly - the lady who was riding her bicycle on the side walk was in the wrong:
(http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90h08_e.htm#BK210 Read # 140 . 6), she was trying to cross the road while riding when indeed, sidewalks are for pedestrians. The lady whose Jeep was struck by the bicycle - how does she get compensation for the paint on her bumper to be repaired? I mean bumpers can cost $1400 or better to paint and repair so who pays for that - and don't say the driver of the Jeep's insurance or I will surely loose what's left of my mind.
Secondly - what fine do the police give the bicyclist for causing the collision and who pays for having three police cars, one ambulance and two fire trucks respond?
Thirdly - what would have happened to this gal if she would have struck her naked head harder? If because of her choice to not wear appropriate safety gear she would have been in a vegetative or coma state or become unable bodied in some way as a result - who pays her hospital bills, her physio etc? I thought this was the very reason/argument that motorcyclists had to wear helmets - because my rights end where they infringe on yours or does that rule not apply for all? If it does not apply to all, then what good is the Charter?
Fourthly - Bicyclists don't have insurance and the do not pay road use tax/license fees which means they do not contribute the maintenance of the road ways or for the fancy bike paths that are being built for them everywhere. WHY?
One project in Vancouver alone cost $800,000 according to the Vancouver Sun.
Fifth - From everything I read and understand a bicycle is considered a vehicle and yet their riders do not have to show their competency level to be on the road or to be tested for their knowledge the laws. Many of those who ride bicycles feel entitled to ride on both the sidewalk and roadway in many cases, which is illegal and is a known cause for collisions between vehicles and bicycles. Many ride against traffic and weave from roadway to sidewalks to avoid lights, which is considered aggressive riding.
I am personally sorely tired of the double standards there are out there and the only way we are ever going to level this particular playing field is to license them for rules of the road knowledge, register, plate and require insurance on all bicycles and their riders.
Voila - a brand new industry - all kinds of new jobs - wow -don't I feel good now!
All joking aside people - do you not agree that its long since past time that people riding bicycles be forced to be equal partners in the sharing of the roadways - by being educated, licensed and insured and wearing the proper protective gear?
Ontario has readily available the fines for bicycle riders in their province - after two hours of hunting I gave up on the other provinces - here is the link for the Ontario information:
Under links on the right hand side - half way down:
Maybe I am being over sensitive after what I witnessed today but man - I just don't really thinks so. On my street, they cut down all of our mature trees, narrowed our street and put in bike paths and I still have to share the sidewalk with those who ride bicycles - why does the law not apply to all in a fair and equitable manner?
I'm just saying....
Like everyday - I welcome your feed back and input...
It's turkey weekend here in Canada - no posts on Sunday OR Monday folks...check for the daily news at www.beltdrivebetty.com
Happy Thanksgiving and remember, to thank the good Lord for all of the bounty in your life!
Belt Drive Betty
Rider & Editor
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