Viewpoint : April 2018

We are all cycling ambassadors!

When I stop at a red light and see a cyclist passing me without stopping, I think to myself, firstly, that he doesn’t seem to understand the basic rules of survival and secondly, that he’s obviously not helping the cyclist cause. Then I think about the motorists or pedestrians alongside me who are sure, once again, to say to themselves: “Cyclists don’t respect anything!”
Small gestures
Far be it from me to condone all the disparaging comments that some impatient, harried motorists may make about us.  However, I do believe that it is our responsibility to restore the image of cyclists and take advantage of opportune moments to change the negative perception that certain motorists and pedestrians may have of us. I am convinced that stopping at red lights, giving way to pedestrians trying to cross the street, biking at reduced speed in the city and using proper lighting at night are among the small gestures that help improve public opinion of cyclists and biking.
While many of us have adapted to winter biking, the fact remains that for most cyclists, the season will begin over the coming weeks. Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists will have to relearn how to share a network that is rarely designed to meet the needs of everyone and where the space is not always conducive to peaceful, harmonious cohabitation. Remember that courtesy is contagious, but then so is belligerence!
I am often asked to talk to “my” cyclists and tell them to respect the rules. I am well aware that there is still work to be done, but I can’t do much on my own. Together, we can help change perceptions by adopting a civilized attitude and trying to convince other cyclists to do the same. After all, we are all cycling ambassadors and have significant powers of persuasion!
Happy spring!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO