Some Advice for Cyclists - The Niagara Guide

I have a few thoughts to share for cyclists on how they can best share the road with cars and larger vehicles.

  • Yes, cyclists are legally allowed toy ride on the road, but should they? Roads aren’t meant for bicycles. They’re meant for big, fast, heavy machines that could kill cyclists that get in their way.
  • If cyclists choose to to ride on the road, they should know their place. Cyclists are by far the minority of road users, so should govern themselves accordingly.
  • Cyclists should follow all the rules of the road and be a good ambassador for themselves and other cyclists. Stop means stop. When cyclists roll stop signs like car drivers do, they set a bad example and cause drivers to disrespect them even further.
  • Cyclists shouldn’t ride in heavy traffic. It’s more dangerous because other drivers aren’t looking for cyclists who might be weaving in and out of traffic. What are cyclists thinking? When something happens, it’s really the cyclist’s fault for not being safer or smarter.
  • Bike paths should be used by cyclists whenever possible. It doesn’t matter if you have to ride an extra 5 or 10 km to use one instead of riding on a road. Bike paths were created for to keep cyclists safe. Those cyclists who choose to ride on the road are truly irresponsible.
  • Keep up or get off. Speeds are higher on roads. If cyclists can’t keep up with traffic they shouldn’t be there.
  • If cyclists want more respect, they should pay road taxes like drivers do. Why should drivers respect cyclists when cyclists don’t pay their fair share of road taxes, especially when those road taxes are spent on things like cycling lanes that don’t benefit drivers in any way. It’s unfair.
  • If a car or truck or bus cuts a cyclist off, you often see the cyclist get angry and yell at the driver. Car drivers have to deal with that every day, so just deal with it. Why should cyclists be treated any differently?
  • Why should the road system be changed (at great expense) to accommodate the needs of a minority of users who don’t contribute, who are a nuisance, and who don’t even belong on roads in the first place? If a cyclist is going to be a part of traffic, they need to fit into traffic seamlessly.

Statements like this are levelled at minorities of all sorts, every day. Minorities have to deal with systems that aren’t built for them as well as users and administrators that don’t want to acknowledge their right to exist or participate as equals. As a cyclist, I’ve heard all sorts of arguments from drivers who think cyclists don’t belong on roads.

Being a minority is a challenge, no matter what kind of minority that is. People’s beliefs and societal systems and structures aren’t often conducive to helping make things better. The onus is on you to beg for the things you need that the majority gets automatically without any discussion.

If, as a cyclist, you are willing to fight for changes that improve your life as a cyclist, are you also willing to stand up and fight for changes that make life better for other minority groups?