Friday, September 1, 2017

Things People Say Fridays #17: It's Illegal for Cyclists to Ride in Tunnels!

Hey everybody, I hope your week hasn't been too much of a grind, but if it has, it is now Friday! For those who work on the weekend, I am so sorry. I would take my comments back if I could, but the backspace key is so far away and I'm so tired. Anyway, as the post title suggests, this writing marks the long awaited return of the "Things People Say Fridays" series here on R A N T W I C K. When I say long awaited, I am referring to myself, of course. Nobody "awaits" anything from me; if you do I'm afraid you need to get a life, my friend.

In this installment, I am informed of a law that does not exist, second hand from someone who should have been a traffic authority...

Now, there are undoubtedly some tunnels where it might be very dangerous to ride a bicycle. Dark, narrow,  and/or high-speed tunnels can be some of the scariest places in the world for a cyclist, and I would never recommend riding in them, technically legal or not. In some cases these tunnels may have signage declaring "no bicycles permitted", which indeed makes it illegal to ride there.

On the other hand, there are many tunnels and underpasses that are perfectly well suited to cycling, like the one I rode through. The speed limit is 50km/h. It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in my city and the sidewalks in that area are busy with pedestrians. The only danger to anyone in that situation would have been if I rode to the right instead of controlling the lane.

This is just a theory, but I think cyclists are so unwelcome in tunnels because their presence may extend the amount of time a driver feels like they are underground; I think there is a natural subconscious desire to be in and out of a tunnel as quickly as possible.

I wish the dissemination of imaginary, often self-serving laws when it comes to cyclists were something new or different, but it ain't. I, like many cyclists, have been informed of such imaginary laws lots of times.

Using the logic that things we find inconvenient or annoying can be re-stated as laws is really going to be really liberating I think! I'll bet you've got some suggestions for new laws... lay 'em on me in the comments section, and have a super weekend!

Yer Pal,

PS - For a summary of cycling and laws governing it in Ontario, follow this link: 

PPS - In an effort to cover my ass on this one I looked pretty hard for any legislation governing cyclists and tunnels in Ontario and found nothing at all. If you know of some stupid law that will prove me wrong, please point me to it and I will happily eat crow in a follow-up post.

PPS - If it is indeed illegal to ride through a tunnel where you live but not where I do, tell me about that too!


mike w. said...

Can't speak to laws regarding tunnels, but as to misinformed folks making up imaginary rules, i was once told by a POLICEMAN that i needed to ride on the left, facing oncoming traffic!

RANTWICK said...

Mike - hmmm. that's pretty bad.

Steve A said...

I wish such nonsense was confined to Canada, and better yet, to Ontario. Unfortunately, imaginary law enforcement seems universal in North American countries that speak English or French (if anyone in Quebec really speaks real modern French).

cafiend said...

I like your theory that motorists don't like cyclists in tunnels as a result of some sort of claustrophobia.

As for made-up laws, I was once detained by a police officer who told me, incorrectly, that I was not allowed on the road I was using at the time. He said he was worried about my safety; meanwhile, he stopped me for precious minutes when I was already racing sunset to get home. As soon as he was out of sight I resumed my position in the lane, scavenging draft off of passing motor vehicles to keep my speed as high as possible.

That was the most egregious piece of misinformation. Ever afterward I carried the handbook of laws pertaining to cycling in Maryland, so of course I never needed it. My other encounters were more profane and borderline violent with the normal sort of psychopath who objects strenuously to the presence of cyclists.

Post a Comment