Earlier this year Jack Lakey of the Toronto Star, AKA "The Fixer", went on a rant: Are cyclists alienating drivers by being selfish and rude?. He was complaining in particular about how cyclists "chronically break the law" , blow through stop signs and ride on sidewalks. James Schwartz responded with a video on his blog, the Urban Country.
After an exchange of emails with James, the two of them went for a bike ride together, so that "the Fixer", whose gig at the Star involves solving reader's problems, could learn about the problems cyclists face. The result was a surprise to both of them. Lakey writes:
The idea was to provide us with examples of the perils encountered while riding, and to show us the need for and advantages of infrastructure that makes cycling safer and more viable. But an unintended consequence of our journey was soon apparent: Cycling is an immensely enjoyable way to get around, especially on a fall day when moderate exertion results in minimal sweat.The Fixer concludes:
By the time we were done, we'd seen so many examples of crumbled asphalt and sunken sewer grates near the curb that we had a new appreciation for cyclists' complaints about having to mix with traffic to get around them. It was a revealing experience for a guy who had thought of bikes as more of a toy than a real vehicle, one that should be tried by any driver guilty of making the same mistake.Most cyclists also drive, and understand the frustrations that face drivers; that is probably why they got a bike in the first place. When I am in a car I know to check my right mirror before I turn, to look before I open my car door, to never, ever park in a bike lane. Perhaps if more drivers occasionally got on a bike, we would all get along a little better and would have fewer squished cyclists.
More in The Star and The Urban Country