EDITORIAL: Greater respect needed between cyclists, motorists

Victoria and Esquimalt have been expanding their cyclist infrastructure, but it needs more work. Lots more work.

A fear of death shouldn’t be what keeps people from choosing to ride a bicycle. But it just might.

Another cyclist was seriously injured in Victoria this week. The crash was scantly covered by the media, and then drops away.

The devastating results of a crash between a bicycle and a vehicle are quite evident.

The roads are packed with vehicles, driven by motorists weighed down by a multitude of potential distractions.

Victoria and Esquimalt have been expanding their cyclist infrastructure, but it needs more work. Lots more work. And giving cyclists plenty of room on the road doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be safe from inattentive drivers.

An average of 150 cyclists are injured every month in B.C. during peak riding season of May to October, according to ICBC.

We should all be encouraging more cyclists to strap on helmets and take to the streets. It’s healthy for commuters and recreational riders, the environment and a congested city. But those statistics don’t do much for a cyclist’s confidence.

Yes cyclists must do their part too. The insurance corp advises cyclists to never assume drivers can see them, and to wear bright, reflective clothing—and use lights at night.

But how many times have you seen a motorist park in a bike lane? Fail to yield to a cyclist? Nearly knock a rider over while passing?

It happens too often.

Drivers and cyclists need to watch for each other at all times, use eye contact and hand signals. Moreover, we all need to make efforts to build greater respect between drivers and cyclists.

Whether on two wheels or four, that starts with every one of us.