Cycling parents, teach your children to do it right — and do it right yourself

Dear editor,

How did cyclists in the Comox Valley come to believe they can ride their bikes anywhere and any way they like?

Dear editor,

How did cyclists in the Comox Valley come to believe they can ride their bikes anywhere and any way they like?

I am seeing more and more cyclists without helmets or lights or reflectors riding on the sidewalk. Who said you could ride your bike on the sidewalk?

Many riders do not seem to know that when you are riding your bike and you have wheels under you, you are a vehicle and not a pedestrian.

You cannot ride your bike on the sidewalk and you must know the rules of the road (you know, things like stopping at stop signs, signalling your turns, taking your turn at four way stops, etc.).

I watched two young cyclists plaster an elderly couple walking down Fifth Street up against a wall. They were surprised and startled as the youth rode by side by side, taking up the entire sidewalk!

I have seen whole families riding together on the sidewalk. This is not the way to teach your children how to ride in town properly.

Teach them they are a vehicle when on their bikes. Teach them the rules of the road. Help them install lights and reflectors and make sure they wear helmets.

Remember, if you are on wheels you are not a pedestrian and you are not welcome on pedestrian infrastructure like sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks.

You cannot be a vehicle one second and suddenly turn into a pedestrian the next without getting off your bike!

I find it hard to believe grown up people would ride after dark without lights or even a reflector. I absolutely hate driving down the road after dark and suddenly there, right beside me, is a cyclist that I simply could not see until I was on top of them.

Scary for me; dangerous for you.

Anyone who owns and rides a bike should have lights and reflectors on. Good riders have appropriate and reflective clothing, lights, reflectors and flashing lights fore and aft. Parents, how can you let your kids ride into dusk and even into the dark without lights?

How can you let your kids ride without a helmet?

Anyone who rides without a helmet is just plain dumb!

Many people (up to 80 per cent in some jurisdictions) ignore mandatory helmet laws because they are uncomfortable, don’t look good and the stupidest of all reasons — “I’ll show the government to tell me to wear a helmet!?”

I could take you to two locations in the Comox Valley that still bear the bloodstains left by cyclists from fatal head injury altercations with automobiles.

It seems it is up to you, though. Even though it is the law to wear a helmet, even though you are required to be a vehicle and follow the rules of the road.

Who is paying attention? Who would bust you?

Who gets to clean up the mess when your head looks more like a dropped watermelon?

If you read the signs as to how to cross the Fifth Street Bridge (the sign says ride across the bridge in traffic or dismount and use the sidewalk) this rule goes for everywhere! Ride with traffic or dismount and become a pedestrian.

Know the rules of the road. Just stop into the BC Access Centre at Cliffe and 26th and get yourself a driving guide.

For you younger folks this will make getting that precious driver’s licence way easier because you will know the rules way before your friends who do not cycle but, if you develop bad habits and do not study the rules and try to pass your driving exam, it will take longer. Learn the rules of the road now and ride your bike safely with traffic.

For you older folks, be a good example.

Lights, helmet, learn the rules of the road and remember when you are on wheels you are a vehicle not a pedestrian! As soon as you dismount and are on your feet then and only then are you welcome on pedestrian infrastructure (sidewalks and crosswalks).

Parents, teach your kids the rules of the road, and make sure they have a helmet and lights.

Jack Minard,

Courtenay

 

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