Culture Factory #1: To whom do the rules apply?

Welcome to the culture factory! Every two weeks I will bring a local cultural issue to the table, one that deserves to be explored, and ask you, the benevolent reader, to help me give it fair treatment. I’m looking for personal stories, source suggestions and photographs, anything related to the issue that you want to see addressed as I prepare an article for The Uniter. You can even suggest another issue you’d like to see addressed. Please either leave a comment below or send me an email at aaron@uniter.ca to have your say.

As a nearly full-time cyclist and someone who feels strongly about efficient and ecologically- and socially-responsible transportation, I have a personal interest in how motorized and human-powered vehicles share the road. In my various bicycle forays around the city I have seen the entire gamut of cyclist behaviours towards this issue.

Some riders openly disregard stop signs, traffic lights and crosswalks. Others stick religiously to the rules, even waiting at red lights when there’s not another vehicle in sight. Still others don’t even attempt to share the streets, instead deciding to dodge pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Judging by the hundreds of bikes parked every day at the University of Winnipeg and other places of work and study around the city’s core, there are plenty of people that fit into some combination of the above categories; these cyclists are you and your friends.

I hear motorists complain about the erratic antics of cyclists all the time. But then I also hear people cursing cyclists who are only following the rules. It seems like the issue is split: many pedestrians and drivers have legitimate concerns about delinquent cyclists, but even cyclists who follow the rules have to deal with ignorant motorists.

Here’s what I want to know:
- Where and how do you ride?
- What are the factors that affect your decisions as a cyclist?
- Does cyclists’ behaviour affect you as either a cyclist or a motorist?
- What are the real issues at stake?

Talk to me, people!