The Gleaner

Sharing the road makes good sense

Cyclists and especially cyclo-tourists have a bit of a bad reputation. Clichés about cyclists refusing to follow road safety regulations or their use of local stores and restaurants as bathroom rest stops abound. But this past weekend’s La Petite Aventure by Vélo Québec challenged many of these preconceptions as over 1,500 cyclists of all ages took to Valley roads for three days.

There were no major incidents (except for an unfortunate crash that sent one participant to a nearby hospital), and there were no reports of poor road behaviour by cyclists, despite the long weekend and increased traffic. This is a testament to the exceptional work by Vélo Québec and over 200 employees and volunteers who worked to ensure the cyclists all felt supported and safe on the roads. The organization is an advocate for “cyclocivism” and staff did not hesitate to call out riders who fell out of line.

The fact the event ran so smoothly also suggests that similar clichés about drivers and their low tolerance for cyclists did not hold true. Jean-François Rheault, the president and director general of Vélo Québec, was especially impressed by the reception his team and the community of cyclists received while touring the region. While acknowledging that 1,500 cyclists certainly had an impact on traffic, he said drivers were courteous and that it was easier to share the road here than in other parts of the province.

Sharing the road is an important value, and hearing that the Valley is bicycle-friendly should serve as an important reminder that we all play a role in keeping our roads safe. The number of car accidents often rises over the summer, and road manners are all the more important as the season hits high gear.
Sarah Rennie

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