A tough and tragic weekend for cyclists and triathletes in Quebec as no less than 4 cyclists in 2 separate incidents lost their lives in collisions with motor vehicles.
The first incident occurred Friday in Rougemont on Highway 112 where a group of 6 triathletes in training for the Lake Placid Ironman, were run down by a pickup leaving 3 dead.
Just 2 days later, a fourth cyclist on Highway 117 in Val Morin was hit and killed by a driver who was later charged with impaired driving.
As much of a tragedy as these two stories are, the biggest tragedy is the attitude of many of the people commenting on the stories on sites such as CBC. Comments on the first report seemed to be heavily skewed towards motorists blaming the cyclists for causing the accident.
It was almost as if a large majority of commenter’s used the following template. “It’s unfortunate but, I was driving down the road the other day, and I saw a person on a bike and…” INSERT DETAILS HERE.
As more information came out, the tone of the comments started to become more sensible, but it still leaves me a sense that an overwhelming number of drivers on the roads have no respect for other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists. They feel that anything beyond their windshield falls into the same category as the dead raccoons and porcupines on the roads.
I do feel optimistic, and if I could look 20 years into the future, I can’t imagine fewer cyclists on the roads. With professional tours gaining popularity, triathlons popping up everywhere, as well as the price of gas slowly creeping up, the numbers of bikes on the roads, both racing machines and commuters, can only increase, and wit it the attitude of drivers will eventually change. But it will likely be a long painful journey.