Taming the bicycle revolution

I live in a house on a long hill. Without regard to pedestrians or vehicles, cyclist’s speed down the hill every day. As it is a dead end private road, there is concern that if there is an accident, the Homeowners Association could be liable.

If a car pulled out of the driveway, there is no way a cyclist travelling at a high rate of speed could avoid a collision.

Many city cyclists have an enlarged sense of entitlement that manifests itself in scooting through stop signs and red lights using sidewalks to bypass traffic and rarely signaling their intentions.

Cyclists roaring up from behind unsuspecting pedestrians on sidewalks without warning are a growing problem.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act dictates that a bicycle is a vehicle. Operators of cars and trucks are required to hold a licence that reflects their ability to drive, operate with functioning brake lights, directional signals and headlights, and maintain insurance to cover a variety of events.

Bicyclists are not required to adhere to any of those rules. Anyone can ride a bicycle wherever they want at any time of the day or night with no lights, no insurance and no licence to operate on public streets.

There have been some charges laid by police to cyclists using the sidewalk or ignoring traffic signals. But police do not have the resources to control the growing number of erratic and irresponsible operators on bicycles.

The obvious solution is to license cyclists with an operator’s permit and plate on each bicycle. Along with a mandatory helmet rule, each rider must carry insurance to cover accidents and other forms of liability. The bicycle should be equipped with proper lights and signal devices including a bell or horn.

Until the Ministry of Transport mandates rules there will be the never-ending battle between licensed vehicle operators and cyclists.

The consequences will be predictable as cyclists battle the motorists on our streets.

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