What Grinds Our Gears: Unyielding bikers

Do crosswalks mean nothing to you?

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PHOTO: Brent Olson / Unsplash

By: Petra Chase, Editor-in-Chief

I love my bike, and I love how bike-friendly Vancouver is. From Stanley Park to Spanish Banks, we’ve got the “world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path” available to us, with mountain views. I would have no complaints if it weren’t for the fact that CROSSWALKS MEAN NOTHING TO PEOPLE.

I hate to say it, because cyclists already have a bad rep among drivers, but they can be self-righteously impatient. I, too, feel annoyed when people walk in clearly marked bike lanes, but at least I don’t pick and choose which markings I follow! But there’s this phenomenon: bikers don’t stop at crosswalks, even if people are waiting in heavy-traffic areas. There are no cars here! Who do they think the crosswalk on the bike path is for?

To make matters worse, when I actually stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, they don’t go. They just stare at me in disbelief, probably because they’ve literally never had a biker stop for them before. So, there’s now this awkward dance: I’ll motion them to go, they’ll politely refuse and motion me to go as if they’re doing me a favour (I’ve already halted). Then, after giving them a few seconds to make up their mind, they somehow always decide to actually go as soon as I start. I end up stopping again and they run as if the floor is lava. It didn’t have to be like this!

The worst is when I stop at a crosswalk for folks but no one else does, so I’m just sitting there while bike after bike passes, everyone for themselves. Crosswalks are few and far between, so it’s not even that inconvenient to stop in the pedestrian-heavy areas, where they’re designed to get walkers to their designated paths safely which is great for everyone sharing the path! 

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