In Montreal this week a cyclist, having just been dinged with a $41 ticket for running a red light, thought it would be a good idea to warn fellow bicycle riders about the police operation. Not such a good idea as he was assessed an additional $651 fine for obstructing police work. On one hand a part of me can understand his actions, yet as today’s editorial in The Gazette clearly illustrates it’s time for cyclists to obey the rules of the road, and tipping-off others won’t help. All too often we “close the barn door after the horse has bolted”; let’s try to get cyclists to stop riding on sidewalks and zipping through crosswalks against red lights before someone is seriously injured or killed – pedestrian or cyclist!
This summer, the Montreal police’s cyclist-safety campaign is targeting cyclists who commit such infractions as failing to obey Stop signs or traffic lights, riding on the wrong side of the road, riding on sidewalks, wearing earphones while riding, and lacking mandatory lights and reflectors.
You wouldn’t think it would take a special police operation to keep cyclists off sidewalks, or that any cycling group could find a problem with keeping sidewalks safe for pedestrians, but evidently you’d be wrong.
The cycling lobby is complaining bitterly about the crackdown, accusing it of being a cash grab, and demanding that cyclists be exempt from some current rules, such as having to come to a full stop at Stop signs, and be allowed to ride on sidewalks under some circumstances. But there are good reasons why a Stop sign should mean full stop for all vehicles, and if they need to take their bicycles on the sidewalk, cyclists should have the courtesy to walk them.
The editorial concludes with a simple, obvious thought yet one that is constantly ignored.
Rather than seeing injustice in police enforcement of rules of the road for cyclists, or trying to frustrate it, cyclists would best be served by strictly obeying reasonable rules enforced in a reasonable manner.