The rush rush rush of our daily lives comes grinding to a halt on the road as we must pump the brakes and slow down for the cyclist slogging their way along one of the cities main thoroughfares. The law dictates that a driver must wait, then move around them once it’s safe to do so, giving the vulnerable road user a one metre buffer on their way by.
Unfortunately, it would appear that more often than not, drivers are getting a little impatient and pushing past these cyclists at a dangerously close range, and year after year, those close calls have resulted in more and more collisions.
These numbers are deeply concerning, as it means there are more lives being put at risk on a daily basis on Durham roads, but perhaps more concerning is the fact that in the years ahead, they will only continue to rise if we all don’t change our habits.
Active transportation will be a crucial point of the city’s attempts to battle climate change as well as reduce traffic gridlock. However, this will mean more people out of theirs cars and on the street and therefore more opportunities for collisions.
And while the analogy at the beginning of this editorial put the driver in the wrong, the blame can fall on both sides, as anyone on our local streets has more than likely seen a cyclist doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing. It’s still obvious that cyclists need to be educated on the fact that they too must stop at stop signs and follow all the same rules of the road as the vehicles around them.
For that reason, it’s time for the DRPS to organize a targeted campaign to enforce these rules. Whether it be ticketing cyclists for rolling through stop signs, or hammering drivers who refuse to give these road users the proper space, it’s clear that the educational campaigns have failed to sink in and a more effective approach is needed.
However, more importantly, this recognition that both sides of the issue are at fault is crucial, because it is only after we realize that we are in the wrong that we know that something needs to change.
In this case, that change can save lives.