Walkers and Cycles and Scooters, Oh My!

This time of year always brings the fair weather cyclists like me out into the fresh air for a spin. Having been e-bike enthusiasts since our retirement a couple of years ago, my husband and I have enjoyed a lot of the trails and try to get out for a good ride at least once a week.

The pedestrians and dog walkers are out in big numbers at this time of year too. It’s getting crowded out there, and that leads to the occasional “situation”.

It was no surprise to me when I saw the story about an accident between a pedestrian and a cyclist on the E&N Rail Trail recently. We’ve witnessed a few incidents on the bike trails that could have lead to more serious consequences.

When my husband and I ride up behind a walker or a slower cyclist, we ring our bike bells to let them know we’re coming. Just common courtesy. When cyclists who are a lot faster than us quickly come up behind us, many of them will say “coming up on your left”, or something like that, so that we are forewarned. (I’m guessing they think bicycle bells are for babies.)

I always thank them for warning me. Although sometimes they’re going so fast, they might not hear my reply.

But then there are those who don’t have any sense of courtesy. Or even common sense.

I have a rear view mirror on my bike and I do keep my eye on it. But sometimes I’m coming around a bend and can’t possibly see them approaching from behind.

I’ve been startled a few times. How do they know I won’t suddenly swerve to miss a pot hole or a branch or something else? Or lose control of my bike? I’m not exactly 20 any more. Or even 30.

The truth is that they don’t know. They just carry on at their unbelievable speeds, heads down, elbows back, eyes straight ahead, trying to outdo themselves or something. I’d like to have some kind of radar unit to measure exactly how fast they’re going.

Their exercise apps might love them for their speed, but I don’t. As the cliché goes, it’s an accident waiting to happen. And of course, it has.

I also like to walk twice a day 4 or 5 days a week, and have experienced not only speeding cyclists but also scurrying scooterists (is that a word?) whizzing past me. Stand up scooters, called LSM’s, are supposed to be licensed but sometimes I wonder if they are. Some models are capable of reaching speeds of up to 145kmh.

They seem to be mostly driven by young males with the need for speed. And no helmet. What drives me nuts is when I see them riding on the sidewalk, trying to skirt traffic.

Then there are those electric unicycles. They’re not as common as the other modes of transport, but they go insanely fast. There used to be a fellow in my neighbourhood who I regularly saw riding an electric unicycle. He didn’t have a helmet on, which didn’t surprise me. But one day I saw him carrying his little girl in his arms while riding it. She didn’t have a helmet either.

That should be an absolute no-no.

One of the trickiest parts of being a cyclist can be interacting with vehicles. I would say that MOST drivers are careful and courteous, but every now and then…

I’m a driver too, so I know how difficult it can be to navigate around cyclists in some places. The new rule is that there should be at least 1.5 meters between us, but if a cyclist decides to ride in the middle of a lane, then it can get contentious.

Let’s face it, we all have to find ways to live with and respect each other on the roads and trails. In July a campaign begins where park rangers, bylaw officers and police will be out in force on the trails keeping an eye out. I’ll be happy to see them.

Otherwise, forget lions and tigers and bears…it’s walkers and cycles and scooters we’ve got to worry about. Okay, maybe a couple of bears.

2 thoughts on “Walkers and Cycles and Scooters, Oh My!

  1. It is ridiculous to state that, “Stand up scooters, called LSM’s, are supposed to be licensed but sometimes I wonder if they are. Some models are capable of reaching speeds of up to 145kmh”… my smallish motorcycle would have trouble attaining that speed. Please provide make and model of a scooter capable of this.

  2. I have seen (witnessed) many electric scooters on sidewalks. Recently the City of New Westminster has passed a law that it is against the motor vehicle act to ride electric scooters and bikes on sidewalks.As it states in law that it is illegal to ride a by bicycle on a public sidewalk or thru a crosswalk.
    My close friend has an electric scooter. He always rides on the road close to curbs or parked cars like some cyclists and other electric scooters and cyclists do.
    He told me that a few times he has been yelled at or cut off for doing what he feels is the right thing to do.
    I believe regardless of electric scooters or electric bikes should be on the road edge as in the bicycle laws.
    It is time to make all electric scooter and bike riders accountable for their actions as cyclists are held to.

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