The Halifax Regional Municipality has some of the most enthusiastic cyclists in the country. Some of the hardier ones think nothing of pedalling year-round. Even in the heaviest snowstorms, you’ll see them wobbling from one slushy groove to another – much to the terror of nearby motorists who must always be on guard for the heart-stopping behaviour of some two-wheeled commuters. (More about that in a moment.)
I’m pleased to say that most cyclists in our community are responsible citizens who ride safe and want to help the environment. I applaud their dedication and invite them to spread the word that May 25-June 3 is HRM Bike Week, an annual celebration which helps to educate and increase public participation in all types of cycling locally. Last year, about 5,000 participants attended dozens of special events like workshops, rides, fashion/art shows and this year the event promises to be even better. (For more information, please checkhttp://www.halifax.ca/bikeweek/or phone 490-4000.)
I have mentioned previously the progress that HRM is making in becoming a bike-friendly place. We now have numerous cycling trails as well as almost 100 kms of on-street bike lanes with a new section set for Hollis Street this summer. As well, HRM staff is laying the groundwork for a proposed Crosstown Connector bicycle lane (http://www.halifax.ca/cycling/) linking the north and south ends ofthe Halifax peninsula and eventually linking with Bedford.
My own cycling days have been over for quite a while although, frankly, there are times when I’m on my way to an official function and I’m stuck in traffic that I give serious thought to investing in a new bike. If I ever do, I hope I would be more safety conscious while I’m riding than some of the cyclists I have encountered around town.
I have lost count of the number of time riders - and I’m including scooter operators and people on motorized bicycles - have cut across my path to make a left-hand turn without a shoulder check first. I see the same disregard for the rules at stop signs, stop lights and crosswalks - cyclists ignore the rules and just breeze through. Some riders zip along the sidewalks; some are oblivious to speed limits; others insist on wandering dangerously close to the main traffic flow.
As a road user, I am glad that the province is in the process of overhauling the Motor Vehicle Act. I welcome anything that helps to clarify the legislation and make it more enforceable, including provisions that apply to cyclists.
I welcome your feedback. Please contact me at email@example.com or phone 490-4010.