With warmer weather and a return to pavement in sight, the Timmins Police Service is issuing a firm reminder to motorists that a marked increase in bicycle traffic is anticipated.
Timmins Police Traffic Sergeant Thomas Chypyha states “Collisions involving bicycles are a cause for concern for recreational cyclists. The Timmins Police Service shares this concern. These collisions are deemed to be preventable. Motorists must be made aware that they are sharing the roadway with cyclists but particular attention must be given to younger bike operators whose enthusiasm might cause them to occasionally overlook the applicable safety rules.
The majority of young bicycle operators are conscientious, but it is imperative that motorists keep a keen eye out for younger 2-wheel vehicle operators. The bicycle safety education initiatives undertaken by the Timmins Police Service are beneficial but there is still a compelling need for motorists to be on their guard while at the wheel during the spring and summer months. This is particularly true of residential neighborhoods.”
The Timmins Police strenuously urges all motorists to be at their best behind the wheel to the benefit of cyclists who will be sharing area roadways in the weeks and months to follow.
The Timmins Police Service also urges parents to reinforce safety messaging with their children before they venture out on their bikes. A strong word from a parent regarding wearing a proper helmet or obeying traffic signs can have a lasting effect on a young rider’s road behavior. True roadway safety is achievable if bike riders heed the rules of the road, and motorists ramp up their attention levels while operating their vehicles.
Each year, the Timmins Police Service is in receipt of complaints in regards to motorist behavior when approaching or overtaking cyclists on area roadways.
A number of “near-miss” situations involving cyclists are reported frequently to the Timmins Police Service.
With this in mind, the Timmins Police Service wish to remind local motorists be more mindful of their legal obligations when meeting or overtaking cyclists using the curb section of any area roadway.
There is a shared responsibility between cyclists and those persons operating motor vehicles to conduct themselves in keeping with the statutory requirements spelled out in the pertinent subsections of section 148 of the Highway Traffic Act in order to prevent collisions from occurring.
Noting that bicycles are deemed to be “vehicles” under the Highway Traffic Act, the following subsections are highlighted,
(4) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person travelling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass.
(5) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway who is overtaking another vehicle or equestrian shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision with the vehicle, and the person overtaken is not required to leave more than one-half of the roadway free.
(6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle to pass and the vehicle overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision. .
(6.1) Every person in charge of a motor vehicle on a highway who is overtaking a person travelling on a bicycle shall, as nearly as may be practicable, leave a distance of not less than one meter between the bicycle and the motor vehicle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the bicycle. .
(6.2) The one meter distance required by subsection (6.1) refers to the distance between the extreme right side of the motor vehicle and the extreme left side of the bicycle, including all projections and attachments.
The Timmins Police Service depends on individual motorists to be courteous and responsible in regards to other persons using a shared roadway.
Commercial motor vehicles and those vehicles equipped with wider mirror arms are asked to be particularly careful when meeting or overtaking cyclists.
It is hoped that motorists and cyclists can drive in a manner that serves the best interest of both groups without unnecessary risk as patience and good judgment is called for to prevent tragedies.