Foothills safety campaign asks cyclists and vehicles to share the road
Safety a good start but more work needed on bicycle advocacy, says Highwood Cycling Club
The Foothills traffic patrol is stepping up efforts to keep the peace between cyclists and motorists this summer.
Darcy Beaudette, a peace officer with the M.D. of Foothills, says the new Share the Road campaign is aimed at educating motorists and cyclists about road safety. It comes after officers received multiple complaints from both groups in the large rural municipality south of Calgary.
"Of course, there's opinions from motorists that these cyclists are taking over the entire road and they're being unsafe and they're not following traffic laws and so forth," Beaudette told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"But we're also hearing that [motorists] do not want to pass safely."
Beaudette said the Foothills Patrol has been handing out pamphlets to cyclists and posted roadside signs to inform drivers to stay alert, remain patient and slow down when passing.
Part of the education campaign is teaching cyclists what equipment is required when riding on the road. The required equipment includes a headlamp, a red tail light and at least one red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle.
While he praised the initiative for trying to improve road safety, Tom Maier, president of the Highwood Cycling Club, said the new signs may actually be a source of conflict between motorists and cyclists.
"It's more of a negative messaging with regards to talking about regulatory and legislative enforcement and talking about fines and other things," Maier said.
Maier said the campaign's focus should be on more positive messaging around safe driving, cycling advocacy and safety education.
"These are awesome roads that we have in the M.D. of Foothills and Rocky View County, and we're going to see more and more cyclists riding them," Maier said.
The one metre rule
Under the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation, cyclists are not permitted to ride side by side on Alberta roads.
Ontario now allow cyclists to ride two-abreast, and New Brunswick recently passed Ellen's Law, requiring drivers to stay one metre away from cyclists or face a $172.50 fine and three demerit points.
Maier said introducing similar legislation in Alberta could improve safety for both motorists and cyclists.
"It makes you more visible," Maier said. "It makes you more like a motorist, so it actually makes the vehicle slow down."
For more information on the Share the Road campaign, visit the M.D. of Foothills website.
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | 'We are making the same mistakes': Alberta Holocaust survivor condemns violence in Charlottesville
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Calgary the 5th-most liveable city in the world (again)
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener