Earlier this summer I was walking on the sidewalk across the Woodbine Bridge. Traffic going by on the road was noisy and my left ear doesn’t hear as well as it used to. I thought I heard a faint bell but wasn’t sure. Then someone spoke from behind. A made adult cyclist was behind me and he demanded to pass by me. I told him I don’t hear too well, but I was also ticked off at his sense of entitlement – illegal as it turns out. Try as I might I could not convince him that riding on the sidewalk is illegal in Ontario. He kept saying it was and rode off.
So many things I could have said to him if my mind wasn’t on hold from shock. Besides it being illegal, that is. I could and should have told him the kicker – i.e., why is the City of Toronto adding bicycle lanes on the road and not the sidewalk if it isn’t illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk? The other point is there is a notice on this sidewalk at the end to “walk your bikes.”
When I arrived at my destination – Shoppers Drug Mart – I saw a police cruiser in the parking lot and stopped them to just verify that is is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. In my upset I was even wondering if I had it right.
I did. After one of the officers verified I meant an adult on a bike, he said it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk but it is hard to catch those who break the law here.
As a former cyclist back when I was a kid and in my mid-twenties, I never rode on the sidewalk. Just looking at the sidewalk in where I grew up in Toronto made me worry I wouldn’t even be abler to keep the bike on the sidewalk. My dad taught me to ride my bike, albeit a bit late (I was nine and a half) but he always had me ride on the road in our neighbourhood – not busy with traffic right there.
My favourite place to ride a bike was on country roads – the gravel ones where the only vehicles you might encounter were the occasional car or tractor. I would ride with my cousins near their farm and it would depend on who I rode with which bicycle I used. If I rode with the girls, I borrowed one of the guys bikes – and vice-versa.
In the mid-70s, when my then husband and I moved to Aurora, Ontario, we used to ride our bikes all around Aurora – on the road and I actually liked riding on the busy road in the lane by the sidewalk. What I hated was having to wait to make a left turn – and this wasn’t even on the busy roads. Trying to balance on the bike while waiting wasn’t exactly my favourite position.
After our son was born, I lost interest in bicycle riding.
But not the law. So adult cyclists who ride their bikes on the sidewalk, look out if you are near me. Now if I can find my whistle I might bring that along and blow that at these cyclists who think they are entitled to ride wherever they please. It isn’t safe. Many seniors have much worse hearing than me and may not be able to walk as well as I usually can.
And what about mothers pushing baby carriages (despite my opinions on them blocking the aisle on buses) and worse, young kids with our without a parent walking along the sidewalk and some jerk adult on a bike comes up behind them and scares them ringing the bike bell or if no bell, using his voice (and the men are more likely to ride the sidewalks than the women – at least what I’ve seen so far). Or no warning and…
Comments on this please.
Only Child Writes