McElveny: End the war between cyclists and motorists with education

By Monna-Leigh Mcelveny, Ottawa Citizen, July 28, 2018

As an avid cyclist and former professional safety officer, I am troubled by the hostile “cyclist versus motorist” war that rears its ugly head every year. The recent trial involving a truck driver and the death of a cyclist is heartbreaking.

While there is so much focus on safe cycling infrastructure, all the green paint in the world will NOT protect a cyclist who is unaware of the enormity of “large vehicle blind spots.” The area beside a truck (that is, between the truck and the curb), is aptly called the “death zone.” Cyclists need to be aware of this extraordinary danger and stay out of it. Education for both cyclists and motorists is critical for mutual understanding, safety and respect.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) treats a cyclist as a driver of a vehicle. It is the adherence to this principle that makes the HTA the best possible framework for protecting the safety of cyclists. However, all parties need to understand what this actually looks like on the road, and follow the regulatory requirements accordingly.

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