By Sheila Ascroft
Is it me or are some cyclists just plain stupid?
There seems to be a street version of Russian roulette happening in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. I’m afraid that it is endemic in all cities. With six cylinders in the barrel and only one bullet, some cyclists seem determined to narrow their odds considerably.
First, there is the cyclist who wear headphones while riding. Click.
Next is the headphone-wearing rider who also has no helmet. Click.
Thirdly, I thought it was just a rare case, but three sightings on different streets has me now believing otherwise. Cyclists who ride with headphones, no helmets AND no hands because he is texting! Like click the revolver three times and ask to be killed. These were not the “young and restless” who could be partially excused for their ignorance of safety or common sense; these were people old enough to know better. Gender was not a deciding factor either. I saw one woman on Elgin Street pumping her hands to the music, oblivious that her weaving bicycle was a traffic accident waiting to happen. Click.
But this morning I witnessed the ultimate stupid cyclist: headphones, no helmet, dark clothing at sunrise AND no lights. Click. Click.
One cylinder left. I assume there must be some logic somewhere in his brain that said go ride your bike as stupidly as possible today. Or maybe he still thinks that accidents only happen to “other people.”
I do understand that buying proper lights can be expensive, and good helmets are costly, but reflective tape is cheap. Common sense , although rare, is cheap too! And I know sometimes you just have to get somewhere very early (or late) that’s faster on a bike than waiting for a bus. There are extentuating circumstances … but the dark shirt and pants? The lack of reflectability?
I am not pro-cars and anti-bicycles. Actually, just the opposite. I want to be able to ride more, see more cyclists claiming the roads that our tax dollars paved, but I don’t want to be out there with you riding with you who has no helmet and no brains. You are a danger to everyone including yourself.
If you are reading this, you most likely are not stupid and are committed to riding safely. However, you might know someone else though who needs a reminder that cycling demands a certain self-responsibility. Pass it on.