I have some thoughts about cycling in Victoria, with Bike to Work Week approaching.
As a driver, I often compete with cyclists for road space, forced into the nearest left lane to go around and ahead so I can drive at the speed limit.
I’ve seen several near accidents with other drivers doing the same. Often the cyclist is wearing dark clothes, no helmet and has no lights. Sometimes they are riding on the sidewalk or against traffic; sometimes they jump the traffic lights.
I spent some time in Holland and Denmark. There, cyclists and pedestrians have the right of way.
In many places, lanes are separated by several inches of concrete barriers, sometimes of differing heights.
Driving tests are much more complicated because the road system is more complicated; Europeans rarely pass driving tests the first time.
There are also rail lines, trams and buses. Cars and trucks have the last right of way.
Cyclists in Europe don’t wear helmets and many cyclists here think they aren’t necessary.
If we had a similar traffic setup, you wouldn’t need to wear a helmet. Instead, our cyclists risk their lives every time they set out.
Europeans don’t use bikes designed for the Tour de France, they ride sturdy bikes on which they sit upright, with the greatest field of vision, a basket on the front for groceries and lights and bells.
I feel sorry for cyclists here who obey traffic laws, wear light-coloured clothes, helmets, etc. They deserve proper protected lanes throughout the city.
Until that happens, I will be sticking to my car. It’s too dangerous.
And I also don’t wish to breathe car and bus exhaust fumes, either.