Sharing the road important to bike commuter
Improvements in bike infrastructure and laws will make Jenny Melanson’s bicycle commute easier and safer.
It’s been three years since she and her partner decided to use pedal power instead of gasoline to get to work. It takes her about a half-hour to travel the 10 kilometres between her Cornwall home and her downtown office.
“The ride wakes me up, and it’s a gorgeous route," she said. "Plus, it helps us get ready for bigger bike trips we have planned for summer vacation."
In the three years that she's been cycling to work daily, she’s seen improvements both in bike infrastructure and laws. A bike lane was added to the route she frequents last summer, and recent amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will help ensure drivers keep a safe distance from cyclists.
Under the new law, drivers must allow at least one metre from a bicycle when passing. Prince Edward Island adopted the new law following the death of competitive cyclist Ellen Watters of Sussex, New Brunswick as a result of a collision with a car. New Brunswick adopted the law earlier this month.
Two of the most dangerous driving habits Jenny says she’s seen are passing on a double yellow line and on a blind hill. Drivers can also be fined if they open their door and hit a cyclist. The fines will range from $200 to $500.
Since Melanson wants to help raise driver awareness of cyclists, she’s a big supporter of the province’s new share the road initiative. The Province is partnering with Cycling PEI and the Insurance Bureau of Canada in an educational campaign to make sure drivers and cyclists know about the new law.
"Cyclists can do their part for safety by wearing reflective clothing and putting lights on their bikes to stay visible," she added. “And, motorists who take the time and watch out for cyclists will probably only get to their destination 10 seconds later.”
With new law and warmer weather, Melanson expects her early morning commute will get even more enjoyable.
"If we are all aware of the rules of the road, everyone will get along better.”