Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cyclist kills pedestrian / Man bites Dog

A couple of days I confessed in my blog that I occasionally ride on the sidewalks. This prompted a lecture in comment soon after. I always glad people read my blog.

Almost around the same time I read this in the Globe and Mail. An editorial no less. I obviously missed the original story.

I must of course offer my condolences to the family and friends of the unfortunate gentleman.

While I do ride on the sidewalks, I am always aware of the fact that pedestrians have the right of the way, which is why I generally ride as slowly as it is possible while staying upright and if there are lots of pedestrians I either get off my bike and walk or I brave the traffic. I would never think of riding fast enough on a sidewalk to kill anyone, I can barely ride that fast anyway.

But what the Globe failed to mention was how many pedestrians are killed by cars every year and how many cyclists are killed every year by cars. I was able to find it on the internet in about 10 seconds. In 2009, it was 307 pedestrians and 41 cyclists. Multiply this by 10 to get the American numbers. These certainly didn't warrant an editorial, if there were articles, they were buried on the back pages. Not all the drivers are charged and if they do get charged they often plead to something lesser and get a wrist slap months later. There was no hand-wringing about how this is a tragedy and how can we prevent this.

Interestingly enough I did get yelled at once for not riding on a sidewalk. Our city actually permits riding on sidewalks in certain locations where traffic is heavy. So it was that one Sunday afternoon I was riding along one of these routes. The trail/sidewalk was crowded with people jogging or walking so I decided to ride on the road which was not that busy. Within seconds a pick-up truck (of course) pulled up alongside me, slowed down and the driver rolled down his window to yell at me for not riding on the sidewalk.

I saw this video on Facebook recently. Here it is on You-Tube

That's all I'm saying.

1 comment:

Paul Turnbull said...

I wasn't intending to lecture you just provide my own experience as someone who rides a lot. :)

I generally don't have a problem with people riding on sidewalks as long they're not riding like they would on a road. I ride on the road and multi-use path's because I'm not usually taking my time. :)

Personally I'd hope the police don't bother with slow cyclists on sidewalks but do crack down on the ones going well above pedestrian speed. I think the Globe editorial is pretty over the top and not particularly helpful.

I will note I'm generally leery of fatality stats and would be more interested in numbers of collisions causing injury. In general bike-pedestrian accidents are rarely fatal while car-pedestrian are more likely to be fatal.