It seems like the on going debate over the legality of two abreast cycling in Ontario has finally been put to sleep by the Ontario Provincial Police after it was confirmed by Attorney Generals office as a result of an incident in the Collingwood area this summer. The conclusion, apparently you can, but what’s the catch?
As part of a group of longtime cyclists in Collingwood, we had believed it was legal over the last number of years. Trying to wade through the mud and water to understand the Ontario Highway Traffic Act can be a difficult task. Steve Varga, Vice President of the CCC has written it perfectly in the clubs documentation by stating “In Ontario two abreast cycling is not defined nor acknowledged but neither is it prohibited in the HTA. A cyclist may ride six abreast if there are no other faster vehicles approaching. The confusion comes into play when another faster vehicle approaches. Section 148(2) of the HTA suggests that the slower vehicles move to the right to allow the faster moving vehicles to go past, in other words not to impede or obstruct a faster vehicle from passing”.
All of this was recently outlined in TVO’s short documentary series “The Agenda with Steve Parkin” where he takes a good look at the issues and struggles the Collingwood Cycling Club has experienced over the last number of years. Check it out below.
So, where do we go from here? Education is key. It starts with those enforcing the laws out on the road, the officials need to understand what cyclists do and why they do it. From there, cyclists need to make sure they are educated and up to date on the what is right and wrong. I personally believe this is an absolute must, it’s the cyclist responsibility to know. Finally, there needs to be public consultation and campaigns to education the rest of the community. The locals, the business owners, the farmers, the tourists, everyone that uses the roads. Who’s responsible for this education? In my eyes, the province, the municipalities and the community. We are in this together, lets work together.
I hope one day that all road users, vulnerable or not, can exist in harmony. Its not car vs bike nor bike vs car. We all have the responsibility to act properly and respect one another on the road.
The Agenda with Steve Parkin - Aired October 12, 2018