Thank you to Dave Elmore for posting this excellent blog focusing around
cooperation on the road between motorists and cyclists. Very useful tips
which have certainly helped me on the road daily on my bike, or when
driving a car!
*Two wheels good but often misunderstood.*
A recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press (Bartley Kives, Septemeber 9)
some prompting from a friend started me thinking about my own simple rules
to help cyclists and drivers co-exist on the roads. As both a motorist and
long time commuter cyclist, I also see Winnipeg’s roads from both
perspectives, but maybe a little different than Bartley. As a Can-Bike
instructor and cycling educator I definitely see some aspects that others
I would agree with Mr. Kives’ statements that riding on the sidewalk is
dangerous, the city is not overly hostile towards cyclists and that the
city still has some distance to go before it can rank as and among the best.
I would not necessarily agree that there are a lot of places that “it’s
freaking horrifying to be in traffic on a bike.” With appropriate education
and skills most roads can be navigated safely. While a small minority of
motorists can be intolerant, the vast majority of drivers and cyclists are
reasonable people and given the appropriate education and information, can
share the road quite amicably.
Here are a few other things that motorists and cyclists can do to make the
streets of Winnipeg a comfortable and pleasant place to ride a bike. reduce
the potential for car-bike conflict. Some are common sense, some are
counterintuitive while others have simply been forgotten or never learned
in the first place.
FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE COOPERATION ON THE ROAD IF YOU’RE ON A BIKE:
1. Communicate: Hand signals are not common among cyclists, however they
are an essential part of communicating your intentions and sharing the
road. Drivers cannot read your mind! Hand signals alert drivers to what you
want to do and you will be surprised how often they will let you do just
that. And don’t forget shoulder checking. A simple shoulder check also
communicates to a motorist that you are considering a change to your
position on the road.
2. Follow the rules: In order to get the respect of motorists, you must
earn it. Following the same rules will go a long way to helping drivers
understand that we are not a bunch of scofflaws that follow their own set
of rules. As more cyclists begin to demonstrate fair and reasonable
behaviour, motorists will in turn change both their opinions and actions
3. Ride predictably and allow space to manoeuvre: The Highway Traffic Act
(HTA) states that cyclists are to ride as close as “practicable” to the
edge of the road. Practicable should mean SAFE. This means NEVER hugging
the curb but instead positioning yourself at least 1 meter away from the
curb to maintain a straight line while avoiding the debris, potholes,
cracks and manhole covers that litter the edge of most roads. In some
situation such as construction or bridges with no bike lanes, practicable
may mean taking the centre of the lane. Riding too close to the curb will
encourage drivers to try and slide by you in the same lane, but also
requires that in the event that you need to avoid a hazard, you must move
left into the traffic flow.
When passing parked cars increase this distance to 1.5 meters and stay out
of the door zone. Riding too close to parked cars is dangerous and the
consequences of hitting an open car door can be catastrophic. And while you
are passing by those parked cars, don’t weave in the out from between them.
Remember riding in a straight line makes you predictable.
4. At intersections or stop signs, take the middle of the lane: At
intersections many cyclists stop beside the curb and rest their foot on it.
This allows vehicles to pull up beside you and if they happen to be turning
right, puts you in the perfect position for a “right hook.” If you are
proceeding straight, that right turning vehicle may “hook” right in front
of you. If you reposition yourself to the centre of the lane as they
approach the intersection, you will stay in the driver’s field of vision
and allow yourself room to manoeuvre when you start up again. Would you
prefer to start up with tons of steel behind or in front of you, or
directly beside you. The decision is an easy one!
In heavy traffic many cyclists also ride up along the right hand side of
stopped vehicles to reposition themselves to the head of the line. This is
another habit that can result in a “right hook” or maybe even getting
“doored.” It annoys drivers because they are forced to once again pass by
you on the road ahead. If you want to be treated like an equal, you must
act like one.
5. Get off the sidewalk: Riding on the sidewalk is illegal and
statistically the most dangerous place to ride. Drivers are not looking for
fast moving bicycles on sidewalks, they are looking for slow moving
pedestrians. Further complicating this are all those uncontrolled
intersections like driveways and back lanes. At many of these intersections
the driver’s field of vision is blocked or obscured by fences and trees
making it impossible to see you until they have already pulled out into
your path. Sidewalks are for walking, it’s in the name.
Cyclists need to remember that they are vulnerable road users, however it
is also true that with proper skills and knowledge you can easily navigate
the streets safely. The keys are knowledge and skills. We can all improve
our cycling skills. Ttake a course that teaches actual on road cycling
skills, you’ll find that there is much you didn’t know and much you can
FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE COOPERATION ON THE ROAD IF YOU’RE IN A CAR:
1. Stay alert for bicycles: Keep your focus on the road, especially at
intersections. You’ll not only avoid accidents in general but hopefully you
will see the many cyclists that are now using Winnipeg’s streets. Too often
when car-bike collisions occur, drivers claim they did not see the cyclist.
This could be due to the cyclist’s behaviour, but it can also be driver
inattention. Regardless of who made an error, a car-bike collision will
result in serious injury or even death for a cyclist.
2. Provide a safe passing distance: At speeds under 60 km/hr drivers should
provide a minimum of 1 meter of passing distance. At higher speeds drivers
should move over to the adjacent lane. In fact, if the lane adjacent to you
is available, use it. For the vast majority of Winnipeg streets there is
not sufficient space to pass a cyclist in the same lane. Plan ahead when
you see a cyclist and reposition your car at least partially into the next
lane in order to provide sufficient passing distance. It is a frightening
experience on a bike to be passed closely by tons of steel and could cause
a cyclist to panic and lose control. No one really wants to add another
3. Think before you react: In many cases drivers simply don’t understand
what constitutes reasonable or even safe behaviour on the part of a
cyclist. Let’s start with two of the most common misunderstandings:
- Cyclists do not belong on the sidewalk: Riding on the sidewalk is illegal
and far more dangerous than riding on the roadway where drivers will
actually see a cyclist. Riding on sidewalks is particularly dangerous at
intersections where you may have difficulty predicting or even seeing a
fast moving bike on the sidewalk.
- The Highway Traffic Act states the cyclists are to ride “as close as
practicable” to the edge of the road. This does not mean hugging the curb.
The edges of many roads contain hazards like ruts, potholes, cracks,
manhole covers, and debris. While these don’t represent a problem on 4 wide
car tires, they can be a significant issue while balancing of two thin
tires. If cyclists are to ride predictably in a straight line and avoid
these hazards, they need to maintain a minimum distance of 1 meter from the
edge. On bridges with no bike lanes or through construction or other
similarly narrow traffic lanes, there is no room to share and so cyclists
may need to take the centre of the lane. We’re not hogging the road, just
taking enough space to ride safely.
4. Don’t honk your horn at me: Honking your horn, even if well intentioned,
can be very startling for the cyclists. They are not insulated by steel and
glass and the sound of a car horn behind them can cause them to panic and
lose control. Save your horn for times when you really need it.
5. Shoulder-check before opening your car door: Cyclists should not ride
within the door zone of parked cars, but traffic conditions and lack of
knowledge result in many cyclists doing just that. It’s easy to check over
your shoulder before opening the door just to be sure.
Drivers need to remember that from inside tons of steel and glass you can’t
see what a cyclist sees, hear what a cyclists hears, or feel what a cyclist
feels. They are vulnerable road users, but with your cooperation they can
be just another vehicle on the road.
*Shoni Litinsky* | Active and Safe Routes to School
Green Action Centre <http://greenactioncentre.ca/>
3rd floor, 303 Portage Avenue* | *(204) 925-3773
Green Action Centre is your non-profit hub for greener living.
Support our work by becoming a
Find us here<http://greenactioncentre.ca/content/ecocentre-directions-and-travel-options/>
Emerging from the Coalition Strategic Planning Session in May 2012 and with
funding support from Manitoba Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer
Affairs/Manitoba *in motion, *PACM <http://pacm.ca/> is embarking on a 8
month project to:
1. Increase opportunites for knowledge exchange among coalition members,
supporters and the general public that focus on evidence based research,
best and promising practices, current trends and issues and highlight the
value and benefits of physical activity across the life span.
2. Enhance communication strategies that support key or critical
messages and promotes PACM as a strong, unified voice for physical activity
in Manitoba and
3. Enhance membership and partner strategies that support collaboration
and networking among organizations, agencies and government departments
locally, regionally and provincially.
*Hence, PACM is in search of a Project Coordinator. It is a
part-time, eight month (8) term position to March 2013.*
*Please share and distribute the attached job posting through your
respective networks. Application deadline is 4:00 p.m. Friday, September
Have a great day!
Chair, PACM (Physical Activity Coalition of Manitoba)
Executive Director, Recreation Connections Manitoba
*Friendly reminder about tomorrow's webinar...*
Green Action Centre and Bike to the Future invite you to join us for a
local viewing of the upcoming APBP webinar at the EcoCentre (3rd floor, 303
Portage Ave) followed by group discussion.* *Detailed description provided
*2nd Edition, NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
*Wednesday, Sept 5th | 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. CDT*
Also mark your calendars for these additional September webinars (details
to follow closer to the date):
*The Third Mode: Greenways, Trails and Active Mobility (American Trails)*
*Wednesday, Sept 12th, 2:00 to 3:15 pm CDT*
*Liability: Understanding and Managing Risk (APBP)*
*Wednesday, Sept 19th, 2:00 to 3:00 pm CDT*
RSVPs are appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
* * * * *
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) and NACTO
2nd Edition, NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
*Wednesday, September 5th | 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. CDT*
ACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide has quickly emerged as the preeminent
resource for designing safe, protected bikeways in cities across the United
States. NACTO will release the second edition of the guide in June, with
updated graphic profiles for all of its bicycle facilities, a new
subsection on bicycle boulevard planning and design, and a survey of
materials used for green color in bikeways. The guide continues to build
upon the fast-changing state of the practice at the local level;
it responds to and accelerates innovative street design and practice around
This 90-minute webinar on the second edition of the Bikeway Design Guide
offers a unique opportunity to learn directly from some of the cities that
compiled the guide. Gain a better understanding of the guide's contents,
hear how to use and implement these designs, and find out what NACTO
envisions as the next steps to adopt and deploy these tools and design
*Presenters*: Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator, Portland Bureau of
Transportation; Joe Gilpin, Senior Planner, Alta Planning + Design; David
Vega-Barachowitz, Sustainable Initiatives Program Manager, National
Association of City Transportation Officials.
*Beth McKechnie* | Workplace Commuter Options
3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave | (204) 925-3772 | Find us
Green Action Centre is your non-profit hub for greener living.
Support our work by becoming a
[Saw this wonderful story circulated by WinnipegBikeAlerts and had to
With a bike and an oxygen tank, 88-year-old Calgarian credits long life to
daily cycling routine
By Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald | August 30, 2012
[image: Calgarian Ken Johnson is 88-years-old and, despite relying on a
wheelchair and oxygen tank, rides his bicycle for at least an hour every
*Photograph by: *Colleen De Neve , Calgary HeraldCALGARY - There’s nothing
that will stop 88-year-old Ken Johnson from riding his bicycle. Not a
wheelchair. Not an oxygen tank. Not Calgary’s cold winters.
Every day, the octogenarian uses a wheelchair to get from his northwest
apartment to the building’s parkade, where he stores his bicycle.
He uses a bungee cord to strap his metal oxygen tank onto a shelf on the
back of his bike.
Then he puts on a blue helmet, trades his wheelchair for his bicycle and
pedals, for at least one hour a day.
“I’m probably healthier now than I was 20 years ago, and the only reason
that I’m still able to do things is because of bike riding,” Johnson said.
“If it wasn’t for bike riding, I probably wouldn’t be here now.”
When the mercury drops below zero, Johnson rides inside, up and down the
seven floors of his apartment building’s parkade.
The great-great grandfather started cycling when he was in his 60s, after
he was diagnosed with emphysema.
“I quit smoking and started to ride,” he said.
While he initially struggled to keep his balance, Johnson, who learned to
bike as a child but never owned a bicycle of his own, kept pedalling
because he knew it was good for his health. Recent health struggles haven’t
caused the senior to slow down.
When the widower started using oxygen about four years ago, after being
diagnosed with colon cancer, he continued to cycle.
“Once I went on oxygen, I didn’t want to quit riding and I couldn’t ride
very far without the oxygen,” Johnson said.
Riding with his oxygen tank, a move that elicits stares from the people he
passes on Calgary’s bike paths, was the logical next move for the senior.
“I’ve got to have my oxygen on all the time because my lungs are really,
really bad,” he said.
When his legs began to slow down last year, Johnson visited a Canadian Tire
sale and picked up an electric bicycle for half price.
“I still pedal a lot but I use the electric bike to go up the hills and
against the wind,” he said.
Six months ago, Johnson began using a wheelchair when he was forced to stop
four or five times to catch his breath, even with oxygen, on the short walk
from his apartment to his bicycle.
“It’s far easier for me to ride than it is to walk,” Johnson said. “I can
ride for hours and hours and hours. I usually cut my oxygen down when I’m
The retired salesman always rides solo and typically cycles in the
afternoon to places accessible on the city’s bike paths, such as the zoo
and Bowness Park.
Johnson, a Second World War veteran who rode motorcycles in the army, drove
a motorcycle, with his oxygen tank strapped to the back, until last year
when his license was taken away.
He’s yet to let anything stop him from riding his bicycle and is determined
to keep it that way.
“As long as I can get down to my bike, I’m going to ride,” he said.