Saturday, August 06, 2011

sidewalk-rider crackdown

The steady rhythm of institutional "blame the victim" continues with the Hamilton Police Service kicking out the announcement of their crackdown on sidewalk cyclists, a roughly annual event that targets people who make use of sidewalks rather than the roadways (here's a letter from TLC on the subject from 2001)

So, the gentleman pictured above, riding westbound on Mohawk Road approaching Upper James yesterday: does he deserve a ticket? In the absence of bike lanes on busy streets with large trucks, we can't expect people to all feel comfortable mixing with traffic (though about 30 percent of car-bicycle collisions are on sidewalks [source: City of Toronto])

It seems patently unfair and an unnecessary deterrent to target cyclists for using bikes on sidewalks in a safe and responsible manner (i.e. not speeding past pedestrians) where there is no infrastructure to support cycling. It's not like this part of Hamilton is a very active pedestrian area, having been primarily built to serve automobiles.

At the next intersection (Mohawk and West 5th) we can see (above) that there are indeed cyclists riding on the road, as per the law, but this will likely remain an anomaly until more supports are in place to give cyclists a place on the roads.

Have you been ticketed during this latest crackdown? We'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

Zsuzsi said...

A new report out of UBC shows that separated bike lanes are BY FAR the safest (and most popular) type of bike lane. Not a surprise, but nice to have the research to back up what cyclists already intuitively know.

If the City of Hamilton is so concerned about safety (that is the reason for the crackdown, right?) then maybe their annual nab-the-sidewalk-rider-blitz budget could go into a piggy bank labeled "separated bike lanes".

Given the recent piece on bike safety (&infrastructure) as social justice, it should be a no-brainer.

Hmmm, cities working towards safety and justice? Yeah, that sounds alright.