About three weeks ago, I was riding my bike and was joined by a bicycle cop. We had a nice chat as we biked along side-by-side. I wrote a blog post about it that focussed on pace-lines and riding two-abreast. Last week I had a different sort of ride with the police!
I ride along Queen Street in Kitchener to and from work each day. Last Thursday, I was riding past St. Mary’s Hospital on the way home from work. I was riding in the middle of the right lane. A motorcycle and a couple of cars pulled up behind me. The cars passed, in the left lane and then the motorcycle cop pulled up beside me. Here’s a general idea about how our conversation went:
Cop (in an authoritative voice): Hey, shouldn’t you be riding against the curb?
Me: No, it’s safer in the middle of the lane. I have a lot more trouble with drivers, when I ride near the curb.
Cop: What if you run into a disgruntled driver?
Me: I think the odds are higher that I’d have trouble with distracted drivers if I rode near the curb.
Cop: Bike lanes are on the far right, so you should ride on the right.
Me: When they paint bike lanes, I’ll be happy to ride in them. The Ministry of Transportation recommends riding a third of the way out in the lane on single-lane roads, because it increases visibility.
Cop: You were right out in the middle of the lane. Cars had to pull into the left lane to go around you.
Me: Yes. On multi-lane roads, where the lanes are generally narrower, the safest place to ride is in the middle of the right lane (This is my opinion, not an MTO recommendation.).
Me (By this time we were nearing Highland Road.): You’ll notice that, when the road changed to one lane, I moved over and rode a third of the way in the lane, so cars could go around me, in the wider lane.
Cop (in a grumpy voice): Well, at least you weren’t riding on the sidewalk.
Me: I wouldn’t do that. It’s against the law.
After we passed Highland, we wished each other a nice day, and he rode away. My hope is that he’ll be a little more sympathetic to cyclists and supportive to cycling in KW.