Love your bicycle and ride safely

Bicycles are the green mode of transportation for many, but the streets are still a dangerous place out there for cyclists.

Bike to Work Week is next week, and while I love my bike, the idea of riding my bike through the bluffs on Hwy 97C between Cache Creek and Ashcroft is not high up on my bucket list.

It’s a dangerous place for cars and bicycles to mix, although our local hard core cyclists may disagree.

Perhaps I’m just getting old and more cautious. And maybe that’s how I got to be this age in the first place – by being cautious.

I used to bike to my destination all the time when I lived in the flatlands of Ontario and then again in Halifax (until my bike went missing), riding on some of the busiest streets you could find in a city.

Usually all you had to do was stay aware and be prepared to take evasive action at any moment because those cars and trucks move fast. And expect drivers to exit their vehicles right in front of you without looking.

But nowadays, drivers are far more distracted and in a hurry.

I can already hear the chorus rising in defense of drivers – bicylists cause the problems, ride all over the road, don’t look, etc.

Some of that is true. We used to get a bit of bicycle safety in schools: in Ashcroft the police provide bike rodeos every now and then. Other than that, kids get mixed messages from adults about where they’re supposed to ride and what rules to follow, because apparently the adults don’t know themselves that a bicycle is a road vehicle.

You ride it on the street and you follow the rules of the road. You ride with traffic, not against it.

In B.C., 670 cyclists are injured and six are killed in car crashes from June to September every year – 70 of those in the Southern Interior. That’s five cyclists injured every day in the summer in B.C.

Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way are the top contributing factors for drivers involved in crashes with cyclists in B.C. says ICBC.

Cycling is a healthy and green way to get from point a to point b – let’s encourage more bikes on the road, not less. Watch for them and move over when possible.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal