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It’s the wrong message

I have been following the stories about the crackdown on cyclists with some dismay. While I understand that safety is important, this crackdown sends out the wrong message – it will discourage people from riding their bikes rather than leaving the car at home. This point is illustrated by Robert Case’s letter to the editor (Tribune, June 23). He suggests he may now drive, rather than ride his bike after receiving a fine.

I recently decked out my old bike with panniers and lights so that I can run local errands without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. I’ve been enjoying both the exercise and the feeling of satisfaction I get from ‘doing my part’ for the environment. I teach environmental geography and am currently conducting a project about the effects of climate change; riding my bike is a tangible way that I, as an individual, can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, however, I’m in a quandary. Have you seen the traffic on Edinburgh, Gordon or other major roads? I can’t always get where I’m going using side streets, and I am very uncomfortable (you could say terrified) of sharing a lane with a never-ending line of cars and trucks. But if I ride on the sidewalk through these unsafe areas I could face a hefty fine.

This is a classic case where one set of government policies (bike safety) is conflicting with another (reducing greenhouse gases). Until all major roads have safe bike lanes, there ought to be some compromise that would provide for both the safety and peace of mind for cyclists and would contribute to greenhouse reductions.

Until then, my bike may be staying in the shed more than I would like.

Brenda Murphy Guelph

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