Showing posts with label cyclists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cyclists. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oblivious Swerving Cyclists: Saved!

Whew! Since cyclists and motorists are both completely oblivious to their surroundings, Volvo has come up with an answer!

At first I was a little worried the cyclist would swerve for no reason at all. I mean, they really make the cyclist look like a bit of a chucklehead, don't you think? I was glad that a commonplace reason for a swerve was used. However, the cyclist didn't even consider that a car might be behind him. I would rather cyclists knew to do a shoulder check than have tech protect them from their own stupidity. Similarly, I would rather that drivers  were paying attention to what is around them, particularly right in front of them instead of trusting their car to apply the brakes for them. I wouldn't want my car to apply the brakes without my permission, I don't think.

What Are Your Thoughts?

PS - I know I'm posting like a maniac. I just keep coming across these little nuggets today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Just for the Record, I am 44 and my name isn't Wayne.

There was some local London Ontario news I meant to share 2 months ago but only remembered today. Among multi use path people, groups of joggers really slow cyclists down. Especially when you have to literally run them over. All that annoying bumping, you know...
From a local CTV article:
A 65-year-old London man is facing a number of charges after a woman who was running on a trail was struck from behind by a cyclist and then run over, causing serious injuries.
Wayne Morrison has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, mischief and common nuisance in the incident.
London police say the woman was running on a Thames Valley trail in December 2012 when Morrison allegedly rode directly into her back, causing her to fall to the ground and then rode over her.
The 37-year-old woman suffered a concussion, broken ribs, a pulled neck and severe bruising on her face including two black eyes. The incident appears to just be the latest in a string disruptive behaviour involving a cyclist and area runners.
When I'm riding the paths, groups of runners present some of the biggest slowdowns and I find it a little vexing when I have to deal with lots of them, as I'm sure they do when it comes to lots of bicycles. The path is meant to be shared and they have every bit as much right to the path as I do.
In addition, groups of runners (and individuals too) are among very few users who seem to get the whole "on your left" idea. Although they often spread out across the whole path, when I announce "bike on your left" they very reliably spread the word amongst themselves and move over.
Even then, I never blow by a group like that because it just isn't safe. Instead I pass at fairly low speed. We often share a few thank you's and a wave and sometimes even a "have a good run" or "have a good ride". I really like that part, because in most day-to-day travel, that kind of civility and goodwill NEVER happens. It happens with joggers and me. I like joggers.

My name is Patrick Cormier. I am 44 years old. I do not own a black leotard, although at 200+ lbs and 5'10", I bet I would look awesome in one.

Yer Free of Pending Charges Pal,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tired of Trucks and Tragedy

I was alerted to another tragic cyclist death by this post on Waterloo Bikes today. The author, Rob, is really angry about the angle taken by CBC's coverage. Sadly, one-sided and ill-founded assertions always seem to abound when stuff like this happens. I agree with Rob, but have become weary of commenting on the fear-mongering that always comes along with such events.

What I think is likely about how the accident went down is not any more relevant than anyone else's assertions. When somebody dies on a bicycle or in any other way, it isn't about who was right or who acted stupidly. It is about profound loss and what might be learned from it. When police officers, reporters and yes, Internet bloggers and commenters use such events to start pointing fingers or advance their own agendas it just leaves me feeling sad and tired.

I have no statistics, but since starting this blog it feels like fatalities involving right-turning trucks have become a terrible recurring theme. It has had a direct impact on how I ride. Whether painted lines indicate I have a right to be somewhere or not, here's my own personal rule:

Where there is any opportunity on the road ahead for a truck (or any large vehicle) to turn right, I will not willingly ride beside one. Should a big truck overtake me anywhere near a right-turn opportunity, the driver has very likely seen me. Just the same, I will slow dramatically in an effort to put myself behind that vehicle.

Will this guarantee that a truck will never ever take me out turning right? Nope. My strong suspicion is that my personal policy will cut the odds deeply enough that it will never happen. I remain completely convinced that bicycling is as safe as just about any other activity you can name, with almost innumerable benefits to both self and society. As such, I have just this moment decided to stop posting anything about cycling tragedies. That news gets around so quickly and is so readily available that I think I'll leave that to others from now on. I'm gonna promote safe and effective cycling whenever I feel like it, but stick with the joy-joys angle from here on out. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Man, do I ever love Riding My Bike!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

5 Injured Ottawa Cyclists - Driver in Court 2 Years Later Pleads Not Guilty

I've noticed that some people are landing on my blog looking for information on the court case involving the man who ran down 5 cyclists over 2 years ago. I made some comments back then and because of those some new visitors have been turning up as they search for info.

Here is a link to the most recent articles in the Ottawa Citizen:

The articles include some information on how bad some of the injuries were, which was very bad in at least one case. None of the cyclists died as many at the time had assumed. I wish those 5 cyclists well as they recount and doubtless relive the ordeal and earnestly hope that justice will be served.


PS - The articles from the Ottawa Citizen are coming out so fast and furious that updates here may become a problem. For the latest I recommend hitting their Home Page and searching "Sommit", the driver's first name or using this link which does the same thing. I'm getting better results with that than "cyclist" and similar search terms.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ottawa Cyclists - Condition Update

As some of you may be aware, a group of 5 Ottawa cyclists were the victims of a hit and run recently. I have had trouble finding out how the 5 are doing, thanks to media that aren't really into following up. The main reason that I wanted to know was that when I looked at my site stats quite a lot of people were landing on RANTWICK after doing google searches on variations of "5 Ottawa Cyclists Killed".

One of my big concerns about incidents like this, beyond the recovery of the victims, is that people will see it as confirmation that cycling is dangerous. Statistics do not bear that out, but many people assume that if 5 cyclists got run over, 5 cyclists got killed.

The most recent information I have been able to find thus far is that 1 cyclist has been discharged from hospital, while 4 remain in. I do not know the extent of their injuries or how things look for them, but I wanted to point out that none of the five were killed, and we can all continue to hope and pray for them.

Thanks to Les Faber of for giving me at least this small bit of information.

Keep riding all over the place,

P.S. You smart-alecky types (you know who you are) who are about to point out that this is Wednesday instead of Monday, don't bother. Mondays will be for my long weird posts with pictures and video and nonsense and other stuff. This was just a quick update.

Monday, July 20, 2009

5 Ottawa Cyclists Mown Down - So Don't Ride A Bike Unless You Are Insane.

A group of 5 cyclists were run over in our nation's capitol over the weekend. Tragedies like this happen from time to time, all over the world. What I want to comment upon is the news coverage I saw last night on CTV.

News clip #1

Half of the coverage is about how dangerous it is to ride your bike. As bad as this single incident is, cycling is not a dangerous activity.

News Clip #2

This time there is at least some focus on car speed. But what burns is the "despite there being a bike lane" reference. Bike lanes rarely make cyclists more safe. Follow these links to see what I mean:

Many thanks to ChipSeal for providing me with these links. He also wrote some stuff in an email to me that I am confident he would be OK with me posting in public:

In the USA, we have about 800 people on bicycles killed every year, and naturally the majority of them happen in the warmer months when there are more cyclists out. Given that, we ought to expect at least two bicycle deaths a day, on average. And they all make the news because it is unusual. The 43,000 (117 a day) deaths of motorists is so common it rarely makes news unless there is a celebrity or scandal involved. Kids are no longer allowed outside to play because of hysteria over child abductions, which are extremely rare. Every year we are warned to avoid receiving fruit in Halloween excursions for fear of razor-blade sabotage..... an event that has never (That is; Not even once.) been officially recorded by any law enforcement agency in the whole of the United States. These are media generated hysteria! We are losing freedoms because of irresponsible media outlets breathless headlines to garner a bigger audience. Just turn them off and you will be a lot happier!

I thought that was pretty well said. Thanks again ChipSeal.

Stuff like this is awful. Please use it as a reason to keep riding safely. Do not let it make you ride fearfully or not at all. That would be a terrible shame.

PS - I tried to find out how the cyclists were doing here.
PPS - Ocotber 2011 Driver Pleads Not Guilty here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cyclists Are People Riding Bikes

In my never-ending consumption of online bike-related material, I have noticed that many cyclists feel the need to point out that every person on a bike should not be considered a cyclist. The gist of this sentiment is that cyclists generally know what they are doing or are more serious about bikes and cycling than most, while "some guy on a bike" could describe people who are just goofing around, are not riding a bike by choice, are ignorant of rules and laws, proper etiquette and so on.

I truly understand where this desire to differentiate comes from: talking about riding and commuting with people invariably leads to a story of some kid or moron or moronic kid who did something dangerous or stupid right in front of your friend's car the other day. Given the less-than-positive view held by many drivers when it comes to people on bikes, you just want to scream "but that's not me! Please don't lump me in with those people!" (Translation: I am a cyclist!) In many cases, you may well say (rather than scream) something right along those lines, and your friend may well appreciate your point, and that is good.

There are a couple of observations I would like to make regarding this phenomenon. Firstly, in conversation with your friend, this distinction is one worth making. However, when it comes to online forums or discussions about cycling, you are generally wasting your breath (or keystrokes) in making such a point, because 99% of your readers already appreciate the difference very well indeed. I wouldn't guess that many non-cyclists spend time reading cycling blogs or forums... although as always, I could be wrong. I suppose there is some kind of "affirmation value" for online readers, but in preaching to the choir all you'll get is an "Amen", not a "hmm, I see your point", which is what I think most of us are really wishing for.

Secondly, it is not realistic to think that motorists in general will ever appreciate the distinction. How do cyclists think of drivers? We identify risk or annoyance with a whole vehicle type, not individuals, usually by using the word "cars". Everyone knows that there are good and bad drivers, but the fact is that any car we see may be in the hands of a dangerous, inattentive or hostile person. As such, we stay on our guard at all times, regardless of which car(s) we're dealing with at the moment. Similarly, drivers will never make the mental distinction between responsible cyclists and "people riding bikes", and expecting them to get visual cues from what we wear or how we're riding at the moment is analogous to trusting implicitly any driver of a Prius who's not gunning it or weaving all over just now. It just isn't going to happen.

Since making distinctions like this in the larger context of the Internet or the media in general is probably a waste of time, the only useful remedy is education for both "people riding bikes" and motorists. Rather than trying to make people see the difference between the cyclist and the "person on a bike", let's make that person into a cyclist by giving them the information and instruction they need, starting with our kids. The more cyclists we can encourage to responsibly take to the road, the closer to big shifts in thinking we become. After all, cyclists are people riding bikes.

I am stepping off of my soap box now; thanks for reading.


Friday, May 8, 2009

If You Were Riding the Bicycle #1

The way some drivers love to hate cyclists and the way some cyclists love to hate them back really puzzles me. Its like a kind of bigotry, really, as we take turns making ridiculous sweeping generalizations about each other. I am sick and tired of cyclists who characterize any driver that criticizes them as a selfish, dangerous, gas-guzzling destroyer of the earth.

I am equally fed up with motorists who complain that cyclists are all road-hogging, rule-breaking moronic hippies or Lance Armstrong wannabes.

The truth, of course, is that as with all people, there will be selfish, stupid fools who obviously don't understand anything at all sprinkled through both of these groups.

When I'm riding with cars, I do my best to make good time while being as considerate of drivers as I can and ensuring my own safety. I drive a car too, and I know how worrisome and sometimes annoying certain people riding bikes can be. On the other hand, I have zero problem with a cyclist who slows me down for little while as they make their way along safely and predictably. When I'm riding, I try to put myself in the motorist's shoes, and this approach has served me well over years and years of bicycle commuting.

What I'm asking for in this post (and hopefully others if they present themselves) is that motorists do the same for me in specific road situations that I will illustrate with real video shot from my bike. Please don't jump to the conclusion that other cyclists would agree with or approve of my decisions; I fully expect to get called out by some practitioners of the very safest and best types of cycling too.

So, here we go:

What would you do if you were the riding the bicycle? Until next time,


Friday, November 28, 2008