Bikes vs. Cars - Collingwood style

August 09, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Cycling is gaining in popularity in Ontario and recreational cyclists are taking to the rural roads more and more. They go to escape heavy urban traffic and to enjoy the roads and views. They aren’t always as careful as they should be though.  We see this conflict arise at times in Waterloo Region with our mix of urban centres and rural townships. Recently the Toronto Star reported on an example of what can go wrong when there is an influx of recreational cyclists on rural roads.

The Collingwood area has long promoted itself as a recreational destination and invested in establishing hiking and biking trails and ski resorts. Retirees have now descended on the area with their bikes and this has led to a great deal of conflict. It appears that some cyclists have had little to no regard for the rules of the road, and safety of drivers and other cyclists. Robert Burcher publishes The Review, a community newsletter. He is also a cyclist. He too is criticizing some of the two wheelers he is sharing the road with.

The area on the Niagara Escarpment is known for its hilly and winding roads which are a magnet for cyclists. Many instances have been cited of cyclists taking over the entire lane on blind hills on roadways forcing driers to travel at extremely slow speeds, or to make them pass in unsafe situations. This has caused anger with local residents who aren’t retired or on holiday but who are trying to get to work or to travel through the area.

The OPP have begun targeted enforcement campaigns against the cyclists for not following the law. They are ticketing them for failing to stop at stop signs, for riding unsafely, and detaining them en masse using aerial surveillance tools. Cyclists complain that they are being unfairly targeted. The tension is palpable. Cyclists are blaming the problems on the ‘blue collar redneckville’ that they are riding in. That has not made relations better. They claim the police are trying to make a point. The OPP released a statement stating that,

“It is the shared responsibility of all road users to stay safe and operate within the bounds of the (Highway Traffic Act.) Those who don’t can be charged with moving violations under the HTA.”

Locals claim the cyclists are ‘entitled’ and used to getting their own way with no regard for local traffic needs on the roads.

Most of the retirees are coming out of the Toronto area. They are healthy, wealthy and want to enjoy life. This trend of aging active retirees and conflicts with the locals in the areas they move into will only worsen for the next few years as the Toronto population cashes out of their expensive homes and move to cottage country to ‘get away from it all’. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and that cyclists ride safely and drivers drive with regard to the cyclists.


Posted under Accident Benefit News, Bicycle Accidents

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