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Opinion: Squirrels on Wheels

Opinion: Squirrels on Wheels

Ben Guyatt

            I know what I am about to rant about will be unpopular so I shall preface this article with the fact that I ride a bicycle. I wear the requisite helmet and know and use the rules of the road. I also am well aware that my bicycle is a vehicle but I seem to be in the minority when it comes to that fact.

            I do not ride my bicycle in Confederation Park for two reasons. One, it is too busy with pedestrians, and two, it is too busy with ignorant cyclists.

            Frankly, I would rather walk daily for an hour than ride my bicycle. Both forms of exercise are beneficial but walking allows me to take in the sights and sounds and have a conversation with the people as I stroll along.

            Like most, one of my favourite destinations is the idyllic Confederation Park. I enjoy the shaded areas, the flora and fauna, and the incredible view of Lake Ontario.

            I always get a kick out of the signage asking people to be mindful of others especially, targeting those that are aggressive. Namely, cyclists.

            Last week I tried an experiment. I went for an hour’s walk at Confederation Park and counted how many of the dozens of cyclists gave an audio warning and practiced the rules according to the signs. The number was zero.

            The ultimate act of idiocy and danger involved a male cyclist. I was walking on the right of the path and an elderly couple was to my left. The wannabe Lance Armstrong came up behind us so fast it startled the lady and she stumbled. The cycling clown had decided to go between us leaving little room for the couple who were moving right towards a bench thereby narrowing the gap.

            There was no audio warning and I must admit the cyclist startled me too. I gave him my audio warning and then apologized to the couple for using an expletive. The man was shaken up and remarked how one of these days someone is going to get seriously hurt or even killed by one of those cyclists. To Hamilton City Council I say, the man is right.

            When I was young, I was hit by a cyclist on a pedestrian bridge that torn a gash so deep in my left thigh I could see the femoral artery. Needless to say, my father drove the fastest he ever had getting me to the hospital. To this day I cringe at the amount of blood I lost and the ugly scar that reminds me of what happens when moronic cyclists don’t take heed.

            Trust me, sooner or later one of these cyclists `is’ going to injure or kill someone. How does the cyclist know which way a person may turn when walking through the park? For a few bucks (like I did) one can install a bell on their bike or even have the common sense and courtesy to give a verbal warning. Most importantly, the path through Confederation Park is not the Tour de France and speed is a major factor when it comes to accidents.  

            I ask you Hamilton City Council, how long will it be before a serious accident does take place? What if it was one of your children maimed by one of these psycho cyclists?

            Still pondering just how close the lady came to being hit by the cyclist, on my way home I watched a cyclist blow through a stop sign and nearly get pasted by a car. As expected, the cyclist flipped off the car’s driver. I see that sort of lunacy by cyclists every single day.

            To the cyclists I remind you that you share the road and when it comes to pedestrians, they have the right of way no matter how much your jazzy cycling apparel makes you feel entitled.

            Ban bicycles from Confederation Park. Then we can take down the signs warning of aggressive behaviour by cyclists. The only aggressive squirrels I want to see are the furry kind on four feet looking for a snack. By Ben Guyatt

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