Viewpoint : May 2015

Sharing the road
Let’s take it easy biking!

Every spring, the issue of sharing the road resurfaces. Many criticize the careless behaviour of cyclists who don’t slow down at intersections, run red lights, travel at high speed and make unpredictable moves, jeopardizing the safety of other users. This egocentric, reckless conduct tarnishes the collective reputation of the biking community and reinforces the negative image of cyclists who don’t respect any rules! Fortunately, in everyday reality, this behaviour is not typical of all cyclists. On the contrary, the number of cyclists showing courtesy and vigilance is on the rise, particularly this spring.

One thing for sure, with the arrival of the warm weather and the proliferation of bikes on our streets, it’s important to take it easy and behave appropriately.

• On the road, be civil to pedestrians, other cyclists and motorists. Remind yourself that the goal is to arrive at your destination safe and sound – and not necessarily first! Also, a little smile or wave when yielding is always nice to give and receive.

• If you bike at night, be visible! Front and rear active lighting: hard to find a simpler, more economic way of not going unnoticed.

• Cycling strips are becoming increasingly prevalent in our cities – and so much the better! They are often unidirectional, so follow the painted arrow and don’t bike in the other direction. You’ll make everyone’s life simpler.

• Never position yourself beside a truck or bus. Instead, stay behind or, if you have time to move ahead of the heavy vehicle at an intersection, make sure that the driver sees you and make eye contact with him. Don’t forget: trucks and buses are involved in 4% of cycling accidents, but 31% of cycling deaths result from a collision with a truck!

• 78% of cycling fatalities and 71% of cycling accidents involve men… Risk-taking and recklessness are responsible for many avoidable accidents.

In short, show consideration and caution. It’s not only common sense, it’s contagious.

Happy spring biking!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO

P.S. The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec is launching several awareness-raising video clips encouraging motorists and cyclists to respect each other on the road. The themes include looking before opening car doors, being cautious at intersections, giving cyclists more room, staying away from heavy vehicles and sharing the road safely. Happy viewing!