Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/8/2009 (4532 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I recently had the unfortunate experience of earning a ticket for $190 for rolling through a stop sign. The difficult part is that I was on my bike and the stop sign was on a curve in front of Balmoral Hall School on Wolseley Avenue. I am not sure if this was a way for the police department to protest their apparent shortfall in tickets or simply a means to collect some easy revenue. Either way, it is dishonest and a smear on Winnipeg's cyclists. Why is the ticket the same value as a vehicle violation? Would they have issued the same ticket to a 10-year- old? For those who proclaim that a bicycle on the streets should be treated the same as a vehicle, they have clearly never spent any time on a bike. First, unless I missed something, you don't need a licence to ride a bike. I have been a cyclist for more than 50 years and on the streets your senses are sharp and you develop a close interaction with your immediate environment. Any mistake is hazardous to the cyclist, certainly not any vehicle. And while on a bike, I cannot drink coffee, text or talk on my phone, or play with my CDs. Winnipeg's challenging streets for cyclists just got a little more unfriendly.
I'm a relative newcomer to the great city of Winnipeg. However, I did not have to be here long before I discovered that it is a city where motorists have absolutely no respect for pedestrians or cyclists. I first realized this when I saw one of those signs that I'm sure every Winnipegger has seen: CYCLISTS ARE REMINDED THAT MOTORISTS ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO USE THE ROAD. Wait a minute. Like there isn't a motorist in Winnipeg that doesn't assume that is an absolute right? What is really needed are easily visible signs reminding motorists that cyclists have just as equal a right to the road.
At least two states, Montana and Idaho, I believe, permit bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs and red traffic lights as flashing reds. Together with those rules they have zero tolerance for not obeying them, and I'm for that. We are always bragging about what a great city Winnipeg is, but is it really, in the way it treats cyclists and pedestrians?