Sunday, September 8, 2013

On the On-Going, Never-Ending Regional Bike/Car Conflict

On Friday, I had a conversation in class about cyclists being hit so much in the region because of our culture around cycling here relative to other cities, and then I saw Luisa D'Amato's article in The Record suggesting cyclists should be licensed to be on the road.  This continues to be an issue in the region.  Seriously, I've been writing about it periodically for 25 years!

First, on the article, I don't have any problem with getting a license to ride my bicycle, but I do wonder how this can possibly be enforced.  And at what age do we enforce it?  Should 6-year-olds be licensed?  What if they can't read yet?  Should there be a graduated licensing scheme like there is for driving - maybe one at 6, then 12, then 18?

Actually, the average 6-year-old doesn't have to ride on the road, like big people do, because they typically have bike tires less than 20" in diameter (or 50 cm), which is the cut-off for sidewalk cycling - something that IS legal in Waterloo if the tires are that small.  (By-law 08-077, which also says it's illegal for anyone to use a skateboard on a sidewalk.  Who knew?)  So maybe once kids graduate to a 20" tire they should have to get a license to drive it legally.