Sharing the road: cyclists and drivers need to respect each other
WATCH ABOVE: The debate is renewed about introducing the Idaho Stop in Montreal when a cyclist was hit by a car after running a red light in NDG on Friday. Rachel Lau reports.
MONTREAL – Anny Truong is an avid cyclist, and like any other bike rider in Montreal, she’s had her fair share of near misses.
“I got hit by a door,” she recalls. “I once went on a green light and a lady, she was turning, she was in a rush and she just ended up hitting me.”
She’s experienced first-hand how dangerous the roads can be and says it’s not just drivers that have to be alert, but also fellow cyclists.
“I’ve seen cyclists burn through red lights before and most of the drivers are aggressive, so they will go forward too and I think as a cyclist, you should be respecting the lights and be careful in general,” said Truong.
With cyclists blaming cars for not seeing them and drivers blaming bikes for not giving way – and pedestrians caught in the middle – the Montreal Bicycle Coalition is asking the province to change the highway safety code.
“It’s not reasonable to ask a cyclist to become a pedestrian, cross two intersections and then cross the street,” said Zvi Leve, spokesperson for the Montreal Bicycle Coalition. “I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to expect a cyclist to do.”
They want to implement the Idaho Stop, a special law that allows cyclists to come to a rolling stop at stop signs.
“The idea of the Idaho stop is basically to make a clear distinction between these two classes of people: people who are behaving responsibly, not putting anyone in danger and people who are not,” said Leve.
Whether it’s altering the rules or making more bike lanes, the SPVM says there will have to be many more studies before the idea of the Idaho Stop gets put on the table.
“We have to manage the co-existance and if everyone is conscious that when we live in a public society we all share the road, and that your rights begin where mine stop and so on and so forth,” said Andre Durocher of the SPVM.
Truong says she doesn’t know if drivers and cyclists will ever make peace on the road, but she says there’s only need for one rule.
“Cyclists should respect drivers because they’re using the roads,” she said. “Just as much, drivers should be respecting cyclists too because we’re also on the road.”