Road raging

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Nothing gets Cochrane in a bigger tizzy than talking about anything to do with traffic.

Whether it’s the quality of the asphalt, the time it takes to drive from Sunset to the downtown or how bad everyone else is at following the rules of the road, a single social media post can turn into cascading pit of vitriol and bile.

Case in point was a recent story we published on our Facebook page regarding an incident between two cyclists who reportedly spit at a driver after being honked at when they were riding side-by-side on the road – the latter is a violation of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act.

Friction between cyclists and drivers is nothing new. They really are incompatible modes of transportation trying to share the same space and navigating that relationship can be extremely difficult and outright dangerous.

The problem is exacerbated when some people refuse to obey the rules, which puts everyone at risk and there is enough guilt to go around. On one side, there are drivers who don’t respect the one-metre distance they must leave between their vehicle and a bicycle. On the other side, there are cyclists who believe they can use their size and maneuverability to ignore traffic laws when it is convenient.

If everyone simply followed the law, confrontations between cyclists and drivers should really be a non-issue because the laws are designed, for the most part, to keep bicycles and vehicles out of each other’s space.

In instances where a vehicle and a bicycle have to navigate around each other, a little courtesy will make the encounter brief and safe for all involved.

The comments that flew over social media demonstrated a high degree of intolerance from both cyclists and drivers. Those who alluded to purposefully causing others bodily harm or damaging property, should consider not only that they are failing to help resolve an important safety issue, but also putting themselves at risk.

More and more people are finding themselves in personal, financial and career trouble for ill advised comments they have posted  online or have been posted for them. In the case of threatening violence against a person or property, the legal ramifications are severe.

In the end, the arguments boil down to little more than childish tantrums.

We all have to share the road. If we don’t and break the laws set out to enhance public safety the result, at best, is a ticket or, at worst, serious injury or death.

Everyone wants to get home safely to their families and we all share the same entitlement to the infrastructure around us and the right to public safety.

Drive and bike safe.

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Cochrane Eagle