Cats and dogs living together (#cycling)

August 21, 2010 § Leave a comment


… mass hysteria.

Putting cyclists on the road with cars is insane. But it seems to be the default configuration in most North American cities. Why is that? Because bikes go fast? Because they have wheels? Was it an unfortunate result of Let Your Toddler Make Some Bylaws Day? Even a helmeted cyclist is about as vulnerable to injury from collision with a car as any pedestrian; isn't splattability a measure we might like to try for determining which side of the curb evereyone should travel on?

Then to keep the sidewalks safe, give cyclists their own narrow lane carved out of the sidewalk, unobstructed and clearly marked, governed at roadway crossings by a discrete set of traffic lights, and respect the places cyclists and pedestrians have to cross paths by treating the instersections as zebra crossings with pedestrians, as always, getting right of way. See above.

As a pedestrian who's perpetually irate at the sanctimony and obliviousness of cyclists violating basic road rules on a daily basis on the streets of Toronto, I surprise myself by my affinity for the idea that giving up a little sidewalk could make things better.

Obviously, Toronto couldn't do this overnight. Though just a little bit of sidewalk is all that's at issue here, most of Toronto's sidewalks are just little bits with nothing much to spare. But my experience over the past 7 days of pedestrian-cyclist-motorist coexistence in northern Poland (with sunny weather yielding ample representation of each) tells me there's something to this approach of treating cyclists not as naked motorists but as high- speed pedestrians.


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