Dear Montreal Cyclists: Please Don't Make Me Kill You
Your mom would hate me.
It's that time of the year again, but for me it feels like it never ended. I'm talking of course about bike season.
In fact, I'd say that bike season never really ended, because all winter long I had the privilege of sharing the road with some pretty suicidal individuals who were riding their bikes in the middle of snowstorms.
But now that the snow has melted, and that BIXI stations are back, there are even more of you on the road than ever.
Which makes me that much more likely to hit one of you on my way home from work. And I really don't want that to happen, so I'll ask politely: Please don't make me kill you.
Now I realize that many cyclists do actually respect the road, but the ones that don't, well you just ruin it for everyone else.
And you always have some crappy excuse too, for why it's okay to break the rules. But I for one would like to call bullshit on all of them one by one:
First off, I've noticed many cyclists riding on the left or riding between vehicles when they're only supposed to be on the right. They claim they can do it safely, but that's no excuse. Let me explain something: As human, we do not have eyes in the back of our heads, and we don't have Spidey-Senses, so a lot of driving requires a certain trust in the predictability of other drivers.
But when you weave in and out of traffic, it's really hard to know where you're going to be, making the situation that much more dangerous. So please stay on the right, like you're supposed to:
Article 487 - Bicycle riders must ride on the far right-hand side of the road and with the flow of traffic, except if that passage is blocked or if they are turning left. ($37 fine)
Article 478 - A cyclist cannot ride between two adjacent lanes of vehicles. ($37 fine)
Then there are of course those of you with earphones, completely unaware of your surroundings. You claim that it doesn't affect you, but being able to hear what's going on around you is extremely important. That's why they made it a rule.
Art. 440 - Bicycle riders cannot listen to a portable music device or wear ear-phones while riding. ($52 fine)
Finally, for you cyclists who don't think that red lights or stop signs apply. You may like to maintain that it's too long and physically demanding to come to a dead stop, and that you prefer to maintain your momentum, perfectly logical - except for the fact that if you make a single mistake, then you could end up the dead guy on my windshield.
And I don't know about you, but I like my windshield to remain corpse-free.
Article 359 - When approaching a red light, cyclists must stop before the pedestrian crossing or the stop line. ($37 fine)
Article 369 - A bicycle rider approaching a STOP sign must stop and yield passage to any vehicle that is either turning into the intersection or close enough to present danger of collision. ($37 fine)
Long story short, I'm just tired of stressing about killing people. What I ask is simple: Follow the rules. I know it's a lot to ask, but it's bad enough you don't have to wear helmets, the least you can do is demonstrate some sense of self-preservation.
On my end, I vow to try my hardest to avoid hitting you at all costs, but honestly, it feels like some of you have a death wish.
So the next time you decide to weave between cars, pass someone on the left, or burn a red light, remember this: My car is a chariot of steel, and you are but a pile of flesh and bones. If we hit each other, your day will probably be a lot worse than mine.
-Guy who would prefer not killing you.