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Letters to the editor, June 6, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition


Trafficking in law
I am writing to raise a concern regarding the seemingly increasing tension between motorists and cyclists on the streets of HRM. I both drive and cycle and have noticed that while the majority of motorists and cyclists manage to co-exist in harmony, I have seen both fellow motorists and fellow cyclists who break traffic rules, either due to ignorance or indifference. I have read comments from people in the news about this issue, and the amount of anger over this issue is something of a concern to me.

Normally I let things go (or complain to my friends), but since this is Bike Week in HRM, so I thought it appropriate to speak up.

On Saturday, I rode my bike from Dartmouth to Halifax to work at Dalhousie University. While on Sackville Street, I waited for a break in traffic and clearly signalled my intent to turn left at the stop sign onto Summer Street. However, an angry gentleman in a big black SUV sped up to prevent me from moving towards the left turning lane, and cut in front of me so that he could turn right.

It was a beautiful day and his windows were down, so he heard me when I yelled "Come on man!" and he stopped at his respective yield sign to have a chat. When I informed him that I had been ahead of him and had clearly signalled that I was turning left he replied: "No! I ALWAYS have the right of way! I'm the bigger vehicle. You have no mirrors and no horn!" I encouraged him to read the traffic laws and biked away.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Several times I have nearly been hit by someone who could not wait for me to clear an intersection before turning left, or by someone who clearly felt that I did not have the right to go around a car parked on the side of the road. I would estimate that approximately 30 percent of drivers do not give me as a cyclist a full metre of clearance when they pass me on my left, and at least one driver per day comes within inches of me when passing.

There are few bike lanes in Halifax, and almost every day at least one car is parked in the bike lane that I use on Brunswick Street. This includes police vehicles, taxis and my personal favourite, a driver's training vehicle.

I am aware that many cyclists, or "bikers" as I like to call them, also appear to have little regard for traffic rules and also create dangerous situations. During Bike Week I have seen lots of great information geared at educating cyclists on how to ride safely. However, there doesn't seem to be much information for motorists on how to safely share the road with cyclists.

If motorists honestly are not aware that cyclists have the right to ride on roadways, they need to be told this information. Likewise, cyclists need to know that they are also subject to the laws of the road. As a motorist, waiting for a cyclist to safely clear an intersection or pass a parked car may delay you by five or 10 seconds. This is not a reason to become angry or to put someone's life in danger. You may not like sharing the road with cyclists, but cyclists have a legal right to ride on the road and must be treated as vehicles.

Relax! Just be thankful that the cyclist is not ahead of you in a car, creating more traffic and fewer parking spots! I just want to encourage everyone to drive and bike safely, not only during Bike Week, but all year long. Let's work together to make the streets a safer place for everyone. —Therese Chevalier, via email community

Come For A Meal
I vote for a "CFA dinner" where those of us who have transplanted to this really wonderful city can meet others like ourselves and maybe help support that sense of community ("My childhood prepared me for Halifax," Voice of the City by Tina Capalbo, May 23). I've been here for several years now and am still struggling in that regard. Don't get me wrong, folks are very friendly, but it's difficult to break into social circles. Plus it would be fun to hear about others' adventures and experiences in the Maritimes. —posted by climbergeek at

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