Lethbridge still isn’t ready for cyclists

If there is one thing I hate about cycling in Lethbridge, it’s the drivers.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the drivers by far seem very polite and accommodating to a cyclist like me, who rides on the road with traffic rather than on pathways or sidewalks. They don’t seem to speed past me in frustration, they patiently wait behind me at stop lights, and so on.
But every once in awhile, people show up who don’t like to or know how to share the road with cyclists.
Consider this week:

  • Two occasions when I am stopped at a stop sign at a 2-way stop intersection motor vehicles travelling in the direction perpendicular direction to me and stop, waving me through. They have no stop signs, so they are stopping illegally. I am not anywhere near the crosswalk, and am located exactly where a motor vehicle would be if it were in my place.
  • I was stopped at another 2-way stop waiting to turn left. At the stop sign across the street from me, five motor vehicles are waiting for perpendicular traffic to clear so they can each, in turn, travel through the intersection. As a vehicle myself turning left, I do not have the right of way. The driver of a motor vehicle parked behind me leans out his window and yells, “Why don’t you walk your bike across the intersection?” I wonder if I were driving my van and waiting to turn left, would he yell, “Why don’t you walk your van across?”
  • I was third in line at a red light. When the light turned green, I advanced with the two motor vehicles in front of me, and clearly signalled I was turning left. The vehicle behind me passed me on my left as he was turning left, too.
  • I am at a red light in the left-hand lane. A motor vehicle pulls up beside me in the right-hand lane. On the traffic light post in front of us are clearly marked signs that indicate my lane is a through lane and the right lane is a turn-only lane. I advance with the green light, and the vehicle in the other lane tries passing me on my right.

I think it will be a while before cyclists is viewed in this city as legitimate users of the road.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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