Whether it’s encountering distracted drivers and pedestrians, construction, road obstacles, or other cyclists who don’t follow the rules, safely sharing the streets is a daily adventure. So it’s not surprising that one out of four Canadians think that it’s unsafe to ride a bicycle on city streets.
Friction between cyclists and motorists is well-known. According to a recent national survey from State Farm Canada, 55 per cent of Canadian drivers find cyclists to be an annoyance on the road. But it’s a two-way street, almost the same number (54 per cent) of cyclists find motorists to be annoying while they’re biking.
“Motorists and cyclists have had a contentious relationship for years. A lack of cycling infrastructure and confusion about the rules of sharing the road has a lot to do with it,” says John Bordignon, Media Relations, State Farm. “Small things to drivers, like drainage grates and potholes are major dangers to cyclists. Cyclists that disobey traffic laws or take up lane space en masse can have motorists seeing red. Having a better understanding of the laws in your area, staying focused and sober on the road whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike, is essential to ensuring all of us remain safe.”
Cycling on Busy Streets
It’s understandable that the busier the street, the higher the level of danger is for cyclists, but that does not deter everyone. Almost 20 per cent of survey respondents state they bike on busy streets. Of those respondents who do, more than half have either personally been in, or know someone who has been in an accident while cycling on the road.
Impairments and Distractions
Cycling can be dangerous enough, according to Statistics Canada close to 7,500 cyclists are seriously injured every year, but the danger increases if a cyclist is impaired or distracted. Alarmingly, 36 per cent of cyclists who say that they ride on busy streets and more than half of Canadian teens admit to texting while biking.
There are small steps cyclists can take to better ensure their safety – eight out of 10 respondents think cyclists should be legally required to wear a helmet. Making sure cars are able to see and hear them by having a bell and lights or reflectors is also important. Unfortunately, almost 40 per cent of Canadians are unaware and don’t know that cyclists are legally required to have a bell and lights or reflectors equipped on their bike.
Giving the appropriate amount of distance when passing those on a bike, especially when there’s no designated bicycle lane, is important. However, almost 45 per cent of Canadians state that drivers should only give cyclists one meter or less when passing them on the street.
This is the second of three news releases State Farm will distribute in 2016 revealing survey results and the opinions of Canadians about their driving habits and road safety. CNW