|Mike and his new big sister, Frederika.|
Anyway, I have a car now. And one of my most recent work contracts requires me to drive about 80km round trip to a gig in Val-des-Monts, Quebec, a few times a week. I'm riding a lot less, and I'm kind of sad about that (although, I still ride to my office downtown, and to shows and events, as often as I can). But also, I'm driving around cyclists a lot more. And seriously? Some of them do my head in. No lights, running reds, riding the wrong way. It's worse because I'm hyperaware of my status as the big scary car, and I give bikes a wide berth.
Just as an example: this evening, I was on Carleton University Campus, coming up the main road into campus. It's four or five lanes wide, with a right turn lane on each side and a left-only lane heading west, and two through lanes. I was in the through lane, and it was dark. There aren't even any streetlights there. Suddenly, I saw the faint glimmer of reflectors and realized there was a cyclist, standing, walking her bike, at the yellow line in the middle of the five-lane road, waiting for her moment to continue crossing.
I felt a little touch of panic when I saw the wheel of the bike in my headlights. I slammed on my brakes (causing the driver behind me to slam on theirs to avoid rear-ending me: I realized later how lucky I was). I stared at the cyclist in disbelief, and she took that as her cue to start across in front of me, with a little thank-you wave like I'd stopped to let her cross. Illegally. Nowhere near a crossing or traffic light.
We were about 500 metres south of the ghost bike erected about a month ago where a cyclist - a Carleton student - was killed going north in the southbound lane of Bronson Ave.
Maybe someone needs to rethink how bikes get across Carleton campus?
I also wondered what would have happened had the car behind me rear-ended me because of my sudden braking. Who covers damage, if a cyclist causes an accident between two motor vehicles? A quick Google got me an article from the CBC which says, among other things, "The next step...is for the cyclist to look into whatever accident benefits they may have, especially if they have auto insurance, to cover physiotherapy, income loss and other costs."Their car insurance will pay for that," Hollingsworth said. "They often don't realize that, but that's available." And if the cyclist involved doesn't have auto insurance, Hollingsworth said accident benefits can often be accessed through a relative, and failing that, through the auto insurance of the other motorist involved in the crash, even if the cyclist is at fault." I assume that means if I was hit by another car because a cyclist was standing in the middle of the road in the dark like a moron, the cyclist would at least be likely to have insurance to cover the damage. I hope anyway.