Tag Archives: Editorial

Motorists, cyclists – education and respect needed

by: Constance Sheriff  date:  November 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor, Lethbridge Herald

As an avid cyclist who regularly commutes to work, I have had some unpleasant interactions with motorists recently. Lethbridge is not an especially safe city for cyclists, but motorists and cyclists are often both to blame. For example, some motorists do not accept that I am entitled to cycle on the road,

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Roadside Bike Assist Has Arrived… sort of

By Stu Walker
For BCA BikeShorts

Are you a

member of the Alberta Motor Association (AMA)?

Here is some good news, sort of.  If you are traveling by bicycle in BC or South Central Ontario and bend a rim or shatter a derailleur you are likely eligible for “Bike Assist”.  Both BCAA and CAASCO have recently announced that they provide road side assistance to their members while cycling.  And, according to Vicki Sherwin, Director of AMA Member Services, if you are an AMA member you can make use of these services while riding in those provinces.

This is an important step by both BCAA and CAASCO.  It means they have come to realize that the bicycle is a means of transportation, that even though their members own and drive automobiles, many also use a bicycle for at least some of their personal mobility needs.  BCAA and CAASCO seem to have taken the view that the future is not the past.  They have tuned in to a growing desire and need for alternatives to using a motor vehicle for each and every trip.

Will “Bike Assist” be available here in Alberta anytime soon?  Hard to say, but according to Vicki Sherwin, “AMA is truly open to the idea of “bike assist” as our goal is to satisfy our member’s personal mobility needs.  In addition, a move in this direction would support and align with our advocacy efforts around the environment and continued sustainability through “green” initiatives“.

How open the AMA is to implementing “Bike Assist” remains to be seen. In a world of rapidly rising personal transportation uncertainty, many organizations, businesses and even cities still seem slow or even blind to the idea that they may have a role to play in mitigating that uncertainty. In the context of post peak oil and rising fuel costs; global pressures that will almost certainly assign at least some carbon costs to motorists; and pressures on insurers to manage increasing catastrophic weather loses; many of us will soon be seeking support for alternate ways to get around, like the bicycle.


For more information:

BCAA Bike Assist
CAA SC Ontario Bike Assist
Bike Assistance Oregon/Idaho
Betterworldclub Bike Assistance

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.