Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Ottawa Bicycle Club 45th Annual Rideau Lake Cycle

We can look forward to cycling season...with hundreds on our roads. Sadly, no one wants to be responsible for those who set large groups onto the highways and biyways. Cycling incidents abound.

UDATE: June 29th

One person, who contacted the Ottawa Cycle Club directly, wrote this to me:
So good of you to take up the crusade to inform the Ottawa Bicycle Club of their responsibilities while in Perth and on the roads in between their stops. I sent my observations (*below) to the club by way of their website. Their reply included some
Cycling in clumps
interesting numbers. The stats provided below reveal that 75% were non-club members.
With all the incidents reported, the Tour is like a host inviting guests, then blaming the neighbours for the bad behaviour of the invitees. The Tour response in the newspaper, while informative, never once offered apologies. With Dutch family ties, I have enjoyed cycling in the Netherlands and the contrast has never been so clear. Respect and common sense is missing on this side of the pond whether on 2 or 4 wheels. In this instance, it;s unfortunate that the bad PR rests with the Club. 
They have 12 months to educate their guest riders, and dial back the finger pointing.M.I.
*To Ottawa Bicycle Club
I am seasonal resident of Tay Valley and have been cycling for over 50years. We welcome your cyclists on their annual Rideau Lakes Tour but haveseen little reciprocal actions. Case in point, as I was travelling west onAlthorpe Road at approximately 2pm June 11, I encountered a group of
Perth Bike Tour 2011
cyclists already 3 persons wide. As I slowly approached a mid-section cyclist sped up and hugged the white centre line making it 4 wide with anon-coming vehicle in the distance. Is that standard practice of sharing theroad? I believe the Perth OPP indicated in the local paper that cyclists should adhere to the Highway Traffic Act and should be single file in thesesituations.
Regardless of following the rules, the group did not appearcongenial to the locals. It's confounding that the best PR in cycling arethe cyclists themselves when riding on our roads and bi-ways. I lookforward to hearing back to you. M.I.
Their response was less than heartwarming, simply quoting statistics that while 82% of the riders were from Ontario, only 25% were from their Ottawa Club, and they had no control over their education and training.  This poses the larger question, why don't they take responsibility? Why is there no apology, instead a defiance on the part of the cycle club, and arrogance on the part of the kamikaze riders.

Here is a suggestion: "We're sorry, local Perth law-abiding citizens had a tough time. We're sorry you were driven to distraction in your lovely, historic town. We'll try do better next year. This is how..."

UPDATE: June 22nd

Letter to the Editor, from Ric Potter, Director of the tour

An overview of Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour

DEAR EDITOR, If you are frustrated by large groups of cyclists on some roads during cycling events please consider the...

Sadly, Mr. Potter fails to see my point. Basically, it's not their fault users did not follow the Highway Traffic Act.  There is no apology. Bikes on the sidewalk, 4 -  5 abreast for many of the 210 km between Ottawa, Perth and Kingston. Cyclists on the sidewalk, crossing Perth streets willy nilly. There were no visible marshals in Perth.

"It's our my fault..." since 75% were cyclists not members of the club. Just great, since there are more cycling events coming up. The cycling incident statistics are clear, Vulnerable Road Users piss off drivers, Road Rage ensues.
Indeed, both cyclists and drivers must be predictable, and follow the highway traffic act. Unfortunately, it will only take one driver and/or cyclist and a death will follow.  

To host 2100 cyclists safely, there surely needs to be far more volunteers and marshals. 

Cycling Events Abound All Summer

All must follow the Highway Traffic Act
Cyclosportif Perth:

Incident with cyclist humiliates local resident

Posted Aug 9, 2012 By Laurie Weir
EMC News - A Drummond/North Elmsley man says he feels he was humiliated and degraded after an alleged altercation with a cyclist near his home on July 21, as he attempted to pass three large groups of cyclists. 

UPDATE: June 17th

My campaign for safety has gotten some interesting attention. An aggressive nameless cyclist advocate wants to point a finger at me for taking photos while driving. (I don't have a phone!) There are some interesting trolls out there! 
Sadly, it is the cyclist who ends up dead or with brain damage!

Perth was mad with bikes on Sunday, June 12th. I was totally unimpressed. There were bikes going every which way. Many were lost, and had no idea where they should be going. Traffic was crazy, many cyclists were ignoring by-laws (riding on sidewalks) as well as violating the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) laws. 

Lots can go wrong!
We have lots of senior drivers in Perth, cyclists risk their lives by refusing to follow safe cycling practices, as well as flaunting laws. Car drivers have their own issues.
Cyclists were at fault 34%, cyclists jointly with car drivers at fault 37% of the time in Toronto cycling deaths, meaning 71% of the time they were at fault. [Officer of the Coroner's Cycling Death Review]

He whipped around the car, no signal, no respect
under the HTA a bicyclist can be issued a ticket for failing to stop at a stop sign. Sidewalk riding is a By-Law matter.

This was one of hubby's near-incidents. The cyclist did not stop at the stop sign, nor signal. Simply whipped in front of the car from behind, taking off unexpectedly.

From a friend:
nothing like popping over a hill and seeing 3 riders abreast in front of you on a 2 lane hwy No respect for laws

Another friend driving from Perth to Kingston, waited 40 minutes until they could pass the riders, who were all riding in a clump.

several routes

Aggravating drivers will not improve testy relations between drivers and cyclists. Now, if I were an organiser, I'd work hard at educating cyclists much better, hire marshals, and put up signage, or something. There needs to be consequences for these people. They are visitors to our town, and show little respect. We have a lot of senior drivers who don't need a heart attack. From the point of view of liability, as well as harmony between cyclists and drivers. Setting 2000 bikes onto highways and into towns seems ridiculous. There are many who seem to fail to understand that driving on city, and town streets, as well as the highway, demands that one must be both vigilant as well as predictable. It is inevitable that an event sparks an incident, fully preventable.
This goes both ways

The town of Perth should insist on this. And don't tell me that this is good for Perth's economy, none of these people were spending any money in town. They were cluttering our streets like mad people.
Location of photos June 12th

There are ways to ride safely, aren't there? There is some disagreement between riding single file, or double. Then there are the clumps that block traffic, and dumb drivers who veer in front of you, into your lane heading straight for you!

Hand Signals

Do they not teach the cyclists to use hand signals? I'm just asking! They risk giving drivers palpatations, as they veer out in front, and require people to suddenly slam on the brakes.

Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour - Now in its 45th year, this weekend long event on June 11th-12th offers 4 different tour routes, between Ottawa, Perth, Kingston and back. 2,000 cyclists participate in this popular tour run by volunteers and organized by the Ottawa Bicycle Club since 1972.

Rideau Lakes Bike Tour 2016 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.


Anvilcloud said...

There's no excuse for unsafe riding. I do understand the stop sign issue, however. Bikes are going slow enough that if they can see that they don't have to stop, I don't think they should. BUT, they do need to slow down and check out the situation and be prepared to stop. This is not excuse any incident that you witnessed but just a general comment.

Unknown said...

Morning Jenn!

Seems to be a number issue. Forty years ago there were far less homes in rural Lanark County and the roads were far less busy....great place to bicycle. Now, more homes means our roads are far busier, and in better condition than forty years ago....and they send 2000 cyclist to travel from Ottawa to Kingston and back during a busy weekend in June?

There's a reason bicycles aren't allowed on 4 lane highways in Ontario....

While travelling thru Perth that has many secondary routes on quiet streets, why is there a need for cyclist to travel the main routes? An effort to keep oneself out of harms way would seem common sense.


Cloudia said...

Ride safe everyone!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I am always nervous passing or riding by bicycles. You never know which way they may move. I am sure during a race the road is closed? Enjoy your day!

William Kendall said...

As a pedestrian I do notice some bicyclists do signal, but they seem to be the rarity.

Red said...

You cover this topic quite often. It must be a bigger problem in Ont. than here. Yes we have some complaints but it's not a big deal. We do ride on sidewalks as some of our bike trails are on sidewalk. I don't ride on main streets anymore. I ride mostly on trails but at times I have to cross streets but obey traffic signs and rules. I think most other cyclists do the same.

Debbie said...

we have the same problem with cyclist here. what a shame the event was not better organized!!!

i ride a bike but only on designated bike paths primarily in parks!! it's so much safer that way!!!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

A bike never wins in a bike car accident, very foolish.

spindrift said...

Jennifer cites this report to support her contention that injured cyclists are usually to blame, she includes the reference to the report but doesn't name it when she wrote [5]. http://www.vehicularcyclist.com/fatals.html

It is a single report from 26 years ago. No other report reaches the same conclusions. It's clear that Jennifer had to scrabble around to find a source that supports her contention, she had to go back a quarter century in order to give the completely dishonest impression that cyclists' are usually to blame. This is an insult to the victims of drunk/drugged/distracted drivers. This whole blog reads like an amateur who bends evidence to fit her warped view. It's dishonest, irresponsible and insulting to the victims of road violence.

Jenn Jilks said...

My point is, @spindrift, that al lot of this would be solved by respect, cooler heads, and predictable behaviour on all counts.
Sadly, even one death, self-inflicted or not, is too many. It has a huge impact on family, friends, car drivers, and the public. You give yourselves a bad name, I don't need to help you! You scare drivers, who already have issues, and you lose.

I do not insult victims. There are 7500 cyclists injured every year. They are wise to protect themselves. Full stop.

Ottawa@Home.Dad said...

This practise of treating stop signs as yield signs has a name, it's called Idaho Stop, and variations of it exist in a number of jurisdictions: