Dear Urban Diplomat: Do I have to slow down when pedestrians wander into the bike lane?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
The other day, I was biking to work along the path on Queens Quay when a pedestrian wandered into my lane. My light was green, so I kept riding and rang my bell a few times, but he was oblivious. When I swerved around him, I accidentally nicked him with the end of my handlebar. He seemed fine, but that didn’t stop him from screaming obscenities at me. I quickly apologized and told him to watch where he was going before biking off. I didn’t do anything wrong, did I?
—Road Worrier, Parkdale
Ever hear the phrase: “Pedestrians always have the right of way”? It’s mostly true. The Martin Goodman Trail is a multi-use pathway, meaning rollerbladers, joggers and, yes, even pedestrians are entitled to use it just as much as cyclists are. There are traffic lights specifically for bicycles, but green doesn’t mean go if some clueless mook ambles in front of you while live-tweeting his morning stroll. Just as cars generally yield to cyclists (or are supposed to), the onus here is on you—the bigger, faster vehicle—to avoid running into absent-minded humans. Next time, suck it up and slow down.
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