Viewpoint : April 2016

Another spring and still no new code!


We trust that 2106 will be a year when cyclists are given their rightful place on our streets and civilized road-sharing is a way of life. Courteous behaviour and compliance with traffic regulations increase our safety and credibility among other road users. Showing mutual consideration for others while biking also puts us in a better position in case of conflict.
 
Hopefully, Jacques Daoust, the new Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification, will be quick to table the bill amending the Highway Safety Code. We are anxious to see how it will be adapted to the reality of cyclists of the 21st century and what importance will be given to our main requests: Integrating the precautionary principle, allowing cyclists to circulate within a 1.5-meter-wide lane on the right side of the road, clearly defining the passing distance that a car must maintain when overtaking a cyclist, allowing the Idaho stop, sidewalk sharing between pedestrians and cyclists in certain situations and heftier fines for motorists who open their car doors without looking. After nearly two years of work and reflection, we feel that it is high time the new code be revealed and discussed.
 
In the meantime, life goes on and we must not let spring fever blind us to the fact that April brings its share of winter-ravaged streets. As cyclists, we are particularly vulnerable to pot holes, so be sure to take it easy and avoid puddles of water that may hide a crater! And since it can never be said too often, watch out for buses and trucks. More than 31% of cycling fatalities in Québec are caused by a collision with a truck – this figure alone should incite us to be doubly vigilant when encountering a heavy vehicle. Stay in front or behind, but avoid biking alongside it when it stops at an intersection or makes a right turn. Since the driver has no way of seeing us in the vehicle’s blind spot, we are particularly vulnerable. Let’s exercise caution.
 
Happy spring biking!

New life for the Route verte! 
Vélo Québec is pleased to learn that maintaining and upgrading the Route verte is a priority for the Québec government, which will be setting aside funds for this purpose in its 2016-2017 budget and for years to come. The appeals of municipalities, citizens, members of special interest groups and representatives of the tourist industry have been heard and, thanks to their collaborative efforts, this treasure will receive the attention it deserves in order to continue attracting cyclists from near and far. This decision will undoubtedly delight the many Québecers who demonstrated their emotional attachment to our provincial network.
 
Many thanks for your support and commitment in preserving the Route verte!
 

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO