Getting Cycling Across

Getting Cycling Across

By: Gail Meston


s a regular urban cyclist who routinely rides instead of driving, I find Lethbridge drivers to be quite courteous and careful of cyclists (with the noted exception of motorists on cell phones making turns at intersections!)  I often ride my bike on the road because it is smoother, faster, more direct, and generally freer of stops and starts and obstructions – really, the same things a motorist wants getting from point A to point B efficiently.

Whether out of courtesy or confusion, drivers often stop to give me the right of way when I am stopped on a side road waiting to cross a busy street.  I almost always wave them on and I can tell they are confused by that.   Maybe this will help:

According to law, a motorist must stop for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk.  However, as a cyclist on the road, I am neither a pedestrian nor in the crosswalk.   In fact, under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, I am operating a vehicle when I am riding a bike on the road.   Therefore, all a driver has to do is recognize that I am an operator of a vehicle and follow the familiar traffic law – namely, proceed on your merry way and leave the crossing responsibility to me as you would any other vehicle.  I will eventually find a break in the traffic and be able to cross legally.

Legalities aside, when a motorist stops for me to cross, it disrupts the regular flow of traffic and causes confusion for everyone.  No one knows what to do then and that jeopardizes everyone’s safety.  Ironically, because the flow of traffic has been altered, I will have to wait longer for my “break” than if the flow had not been disturbed.

I strive to be viewed as a responsible cyclist who has rights to use the road.  I take those rights seriously in the hope of demonstrating that cyclists and motorists can indeed share the road.  I take those rights joyfully in the hope of encouraging others to discover the delights and wide-ranging benefits of cycling as alternative transportation.