Give bike riders a brake

Motorists should be more courteous when it comes to pedestrians

I had the best of intentions when it came to Bike to Work week.

A few roadblocks cropped up in my way.

There was my sick kid, which has kept me pretty much housebound. And I was simply not up to biking to the grocery store to haul home copious amounts of Pedialyte, saltines and chicken broth.

The bad news was, it kept me off my bike for terrific events like Friday’s Twilight Family Ride.

The good news was, that I wasn’t using my car either, so at least I was following through on a commitment not to use a gas-powered vehicle.

But while I may have missed out on some of the fun of riding in the middle of the downtown streets or using pedal power to earn some pancakes at Monday morning’s breakfast, the week is not over.

Before the end of the week, I plan to don my bike helmet, plant my duff on my bike seat and ride with my children to school. No excuses.

It’s not too late for the rest of you either. Give pedal power a go. It’s cheap, environmentally friendly and your heart, lungs and legs will thank you.

And for those of you who can’t stay out of your cars, be sure to take a little extra caution when sharing the road with cyclists.

This is where I’m going to air a few beefs I have with drivers lately.

Is it just me, or do a large number of drivers in Salmon Arm simply not understand what a crosswalk means? Or is there just a complete lack of common courtesy?

A mother recently spoke to me about how frequently she tries to cross roads with her four children at crosswalks, only to be totally ignored or even have drivers try to zoom through around them.

So I started paying a little more attention myself. And I found she is right. I saw people plow right on by many marked crossings, even on Okanagan Avenue, where there are recently installed crossing lights.

I saw a family of four get off their bikes and wait to cross 20th Street, and they waited, and waited as five cars drove through before one stopped.

Many people seem to have no idea that pedestrians have the right of way at marked crossings. That means drivers should stop to let people cross.

Pedestrians should not simply walk out into traffic in hopes of a driver screeching to a halt in time.

While it might be an easy thing to forget as your mind is on your destination, is it really so much to ask you to stop for a few seconds to let someone cross?

It’s just good manners.