Given the actions of the Greater Sudbury Police Service in ticketing cyclists on sidewalks lately, I’ve jumped into the fray by writing a letter to the Mayor and to the Chief of Police, asking them to proactively begin campaigns to educate motorists and to enforce motorist infractions on our roads.
We can talk until we’re blue in the face, but the law states that we can’t ride on the sidewalk. My personal opinion, which is separate from others in the SCU, is that we belong on the roads, and not on the sidewalks, and that it is dangerous to ride on sidewalks. There are numerous studies that confirm that – you might want to check out this page that summarizes some of them. Bicycle sidepaths: crash risks and liability exposure.
However, I really believe that the sidewalk issue is a red herring. The problem is that we have a legal right to be able to safely cycle on the road. That is what needs to change. We talk about how safe it is to cycle in the Netherlands or in other European countries. The fact is that while there is a lot of separate cycling infrastructure in those countries, there are also lots of areas where there is none. The difference is that those countries have lots of cyclists, who get trained early in life, and they also have motorists who are also trained, and who are used to sharing the road with cyclists.
Instead of saying that we CAN’T ride on the roads because it is too dangerous, we need to change the culture that currently exists in Sudbury – namely that bicycles don’t belong on the road, that we need to ride too close to the curb to let vehicles get by us in the same lane, and that we should find a way around the dangers that currently exist because motorists don’t want to accommodate us here. We need to work towards ensuring that we CAN ride safely on our roads.
That’s why I took Can-Bike 2 training, and Can-Bike instructor training. To help cyclists in Sudbury cycle safely on roads. To change our culture. To make things better in Sudbury. Let’s put our energy into doing that. Once we formerly get our certifications, our 6 Sudbury Can-Bike instructors will be able to offer courses here. Once things are organized, we will offer training, tips, and assistance to children and adults across the city. We will effectuate change for our cyclists. That’s just a few weeks away.
We need to mobilize the city and the police to effectuate change for our motorists. Send emails and letters to the Mayor and to the Chief of Police. Contact your city councillor and tell him/her that you want safe cycling in your ward. Contact you CAN and ask them what they can do to assist in this. Come out to the SCU events and meetings to support those of us who work on your behalf to bring safe cycling to Sudbury. Take courses once they are available. And practice safe and legal cycling.
View my letter Open letter to the Chief of Police and Mayor.