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All who use roads must learn respect

DEALER’S VOICE

Published July 18, 2014

Each spring, cyclists and joggers fan out across roads and highways to pursue their outdoor passions. I’m a jogger myself and I look forward to weekly runs along concession roads at dusk near my home.

The problem with running on concession roads is the lack of respect from some drivers who whiz past me within inches, without yielding any space when it is clearly safe to do so. These reckless souls intend to frighten me and send a message: this road belongs to cars and trucks, not joggers.

Drivers aren’t the only road occupants who drive carelessly and show disrespect.

Cyclists have bad habits as well. In rural areas, they frequently ride in packs, hogging entire lanes so that drivers have to slow down or stop before passing them. They are likely motivated to do this because some drivers pass too closely and try to force cyclists off the road.

Proper cycling formation is single file so as not to impede normal traffic flow, although side-by-side riding is permitted in some situations.

In cities, a small percentage of cyclists weave in and out of traffic and disobey traffic lights, all the while imperiling their own lives and the lives of motorists and pedestrians.

I’m not criticizing all cyclists — just those who show a disdain for traffic rules and for motorists with whom they share the road.

Cyclists need to obey the rules of the road, which include wearing helmets; stopping for red lights and stop signs; riding in designated directions on one-way streets; yielding for pedestrians at crosswalks; using hand signals to indicate turns; and making sure their bikes are in good working condition.

At dusk or at night, cyclists should wear bright attire, and bikes should have proper lights and reflectors. CAA reports that 34 per cent of cyclists who were killed were struck by a vehicle in the dark.

Drivers need to slow down and be aware of vulnerable road-users, whether they are pedestrians in cities or cyclists/joggers on country roads. According the CAA, 64 per cent of cycling deaths are from crashes that occur on city roads.

If you’re driving and see a cyclist or jogger ahead, and it’s safe to steer your car to the centre of the road, then do so. Driving too close to a cyclist or jogger endangers lives and could lead to tragic consequences.

Approximately 7,500 cyclists are injured in Canada each year and one out of every three cycling deaths occur at night or where there is artificial lighting (CAA).

Road runners (myself included) need to obey the rules of the road, too. They need to jog on a sidewalk or a shoulder, if possible, facing traffic so that they are aware of oncoming vehicles.

Here’s something else that runners should stop doing: listening to loud music and tuning out their surroundings. Runners need ‘situational awareness,’ especially if they are running on busy roads with cars and trucks rumbling past.

Whether you are operating a passenger or commercial vehicle, a motorcycle, a bicycle, or are jogging along the side of the road, apply common sense, be cautious, and have respect for your fellow road occupants.

If you are operating a motorized vehicle or a cycle, make sure that it’s in good operating condition. If you hear strange noises in your engine or suspect a safety-related issue, get it checked out at your local new car dealership.

Now that summer is here and roadways are busy, it’s time that all drivers, cyclists and joggers learn to show a little more respect.

On behalf of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, please enjoy our roadways, drive with caution and have a great summer.

This column represents the views of TADA. Email president@tada.ca or visit tada.ca. Bob Verwey, president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, is a new-car dealer in the GTA.

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