Thursday, July 18, 2013

Community Column by Don Butt (July 2013)

(Town of Mono, ON) This time I want to talk about bikes and bike riders. I constantly hear bike riders complain about car drivers not giving them a break or not recognizing their right to share the road. From long experience of not only watching bikers but also riding, my comment would be: if you want to share the road and be accepted, how about following the law which covers bikes as well as motor vehicles. I have watched them go through red lights,” do not cross” signs, fail to signal, not slow for pedestrians, have no bell or horn on their bikes, and so on. At night they ride without lights of any kind and no rear reflectors. One of the biggest scares I have had in my many years of driving was to have a rider wearing dark clothing on a black bike and no lights, cross in front of me! Now let’s talk about the law.

The Highway Traffic Act lists motorized vehicles covered by the act and then very clearly, "bicycles" and vehicles propelled by "muscle power". If you ride a bicycle you are covered by the same laws as a car, truck, motorcycle, etc. You must use hand signals for stops and turns, your bike must have a bell or horn and you must stop at lights or stop signs. Since cars have had signals built in for many years the hand signals are as follows: Left turn - straight out. Right turn - out and up . Stop - out and down..(left arm movements). For nighttime riding bikes must have a white light in front and a red to the rear. A reflector to the rear is a good idea. Clothing should have the reflective tape especially on the back and arms. Paul Nancekevil of OPP Dufferin says stop in to their office at Primrose and he has a good stock of this tape to be sewed on (free). If your bike is motorized (electric or gas) then the same laws apply as cars and trucks but the added safety of reflective clothing is good insurance. Almost all new powered bikes will have stop and turn signals built in but if you drive an older bike, go to the required hand signals. Mow bikers , obey the law and stop complaining! Have fun and wear your helmet.

Safety Tip
Just drive. Texting, eating or other distractions do make a difference in the quality of your driving. (this tip comes to you from Doug Annette and the Skid Control School at Oakville , Ont (www.skidcontrolschool.com )

Road Watch Our forms for reporting dangerous and aggressive drivers are now attached to our website.If you prefer a paper form or do not have a computer, our forms are available at Mono Plaza and OPP at Primrose. Please use them, the life you may save could be your own or a loved one. Or use the new cell number to call direct - *677.

Don Butt is currently the Public Relations and Media Contact for the Mono Community Policing Committee. If you would like more information on anything covered in Don’s Column or would like to see a topic of public interest or safety covered; post a comment below.