May 17, 2010
Over this past weekend several cyclists died on highways in the Montreal area.
In ancient times when I was young, we were taught to ride our bikes facing oncoming traffic. That way, we could see what was coming and have a chance to move clear.
Some time later this practice was discouraged or outlawed. Some say it is because the accumulated speed of a car and a bicycle heading toward each other would be more dangerous.
As pedestrians and drivers, we are taught to look - not at the oncoming vehicle - but at the other driver's eyes, so we can see if he or she is aware of our presence.
Imagine pedestrians showing their backs to oncoming traffic. Ridiculous! Though I know so many people do just that, assuming the driver won't hit them. It seems no one ever blames the pedestrians who were talking to friends or looking at their feet instead of at traffic when they were struck down. You don't go into battle showing the enemy your back.
You can drown in a swimming pool, you can drown in the ocean. You are not more dead either way. If a car strikes a biker from behind at 60 miles an hour minus the bike's forward speed of 10 miles an hour or, face on at an accumulated speed of 70 miles an hour, the outcome will be equally horrific.
Give everyone a chance to survive. Cyclists should face reality, the oncoming traffic.