Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cycling in winter good idea or bad?

This post should get some reaction from the cyclists who pass by this blog.

So my question is - should cyclists be riding their bikes in winter? I'm not talking about when the roads are clear but when it's down and dirty, blizzardy, poor road conditions winter.

Naturally, I have some thoughts on the matter. Let me start out front by saying I have nothing but admiration and envy for bike riders. They do us all a favour in so many ways. My only problem with bike riders has ever been that some riders can't seem to make up their mind whether they want to be treated like pedestrians or vehicles. My feelings have always been you have to be one or the other, but not both. But back to the main question.

The goal I have as the defensive driver of a vehicle is trying to avoid accidents. When the roads are covered with snow and ice, the job of accident avoidance is difficult enough dodging errant truck and car drivers who don't know how to adjust to winter driving. The logical solution is of course to put more stopping / veering distance between you and the other vehicles on the road. That way, you have both the time and space to stop when obstacles enter your path.

Enter the bike. When the roads are in great shape, I sometimes have issues dodging bikes that unexpectedly dart in front of me, but I can easily avoid them under normal circumstances. When the roads are covered in ice and snow, not only am I having some increased difficulty maintaining control of my vehicle, but the cyclists are barely in control of their rides and because they can change direction very quickly and unexpectedly, avoiding them becomes damned near impossible. I've witnessed bikes lose control right in front of me (or worse, beside me) and almost slip right under my wheels or someone else's. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I think we could do without this kind of hazard on already treacherous winter roads. If you want to ride on a pathway or bike lane (the latter practically non-existent in winter), that's alright. But stay off the road.

Reader opinions?

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