Whoa! Mind those stop signs! CityCaucus.com's exclusive video of a UBC intersection
We first posted this YouTube video on our site in July 2010. Since then it's had over 2000 page views! Coincidentally our video went to air around the same time Mayor Gregor Robertson made front page headlines (see below) for an encounter he had with a TransLink bus. If you want to read more about that story, you can click here to see this previous post. Hope you enjoy!
The media headlines this morning are blaring out about "Red Light Robertson" and yet another situation whereby Mayor Gregor refuses to take responsibility for his own actions. Remember the fare evasion, folks? Today's The Province newspaper cover story is reporting that Vancouver's Mayor ran a red light on his bicycle and almost caused an accident with a Translink bus.
However, as our exclusive video from a UBC intersection shows, Mayor Robertson is by no means the only cyclist who feels they are above the law when it comes to riding their bikes on our streets.
A few weeks ago I was crossing the street near my work site. In the blink of an eye, I was almost sideswiped by a speeding cyclist who was flagrantly ignoring the rules of the road by not stopping at a 4 way stop. This wasn't the first time I had a near miss at that corner with non-helmet wearing cyclists who often treat pedestrians like we're just second class peasants.
Armed with a video camera, I thought it might be interesting to use a portion of my break to film the aforementioned intersection from a safe distance. What I was able to capture on film at two separate times of the day was simply astounding. Take for example the one cyclist who is seen riding on the sidewalk without a helmet with a coffee in his right hand as he zips onto the road. Cyclist after cyclist can be seen ignoring the basic rules of the road and putting both pedestrians and motor vehicles at risk of injury or accident. If you don't believe me, click on the exclusive video I've just posted to get a sense of what I'm talking about.
The cycling lobby in Vancouver has become the most powerful force on this city council. Unlike other community groups, when the cyclists speak, this council listens. Council has already closed off portions of Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir Street to vehicular traffic and handed it over to the cycling community...with more lanes to come on Hornby Street. Meanwhile, little effort has been made to ensure that cyclists (big supporters of Vision Vancouver and Mayor Gregor "critical mass" Robertson") are actually adhering to basic traffic laws.
It's not like I'm asking for much. I simply think wearing a helmet (provincial law) and stopping at clearly marked stop signs (another provincial law) should be a no-brainer. However, based on the video I shot over the course of about an hour, these basics are being ignored at not only this intersection, but hundreds of similar ones across Metro Vancouver.
Can you blame the cyclists? After all, the Mayor is a huge cycling advocate and few others on council (of all political stripes) would dare attempt any type of crackdown on law breaking cyclists. That's because any such attempt would be met with howls of protest and threats of a political calamity.
As for the cover story in today's Province newspaper, they state:
When the mayor and the bus driver pulled up alongside each other at Georgia Street, MacDonald told him, “Thanks for giving me a heart attack. You of all people should look left before you make a right turn on a right,” she says. “He said, ‘I’m really sorry about that.’”
The last she saw of the man she now calls “red-light Robertston” was his two-wheeled figure — clad in dress pants and a white dress shirt with a colourful tie flapping over his left shoulder — turning left onto Nelson Street, heading in the direction of City Hall.
She gives the mayor a full 10 on a one-to-10 scale of dumb things cyclists do, but she’s hoping that he’s been “scared straight,” as he appeared shaken by the near miss. “He looked like he was going to come out of his skin,” she says.
Mayor Robertson seemed repentant regarding the fact he almost caused an accident and scared the living daylights out of a veteran transit driver. Province columnist Ethan Baron seems a tad skeptical of Robertson's version of events:
Robertson on Monday appeared reluctant to admit wrongdoing. He acknowledged that the bike-specific stoplight on Dunsmuir at Richards was red, but said, “I wasn’t going against a red light. There was a red light to go straight on Dunsmuir. I turned right in the crosswalk.”
It was when he left the crosswalk and tried to get across the curbside bus lane and into the bike lane on Richards that the conflict with the bus occurred, Robertson says.
This “I-was-turning-into-the-crosswalk-not-the-roadway” excuse sounded a little weak to me, so I took a walk over to the intersection. When the light is red for bikes on Dunsmuir, traffic on Richards is coming from the left. It is quite clear that when the light is red, bikes must stop at the white stop line painted in the bike lane, whether they’re going straight or turning right, just as at any red light.
You could classify me as a fair weather cyclists as I only ride my bike during the drier summer months. However, I would never consider leaving the yard without my helmet. Nor would I consider knowingly breaking traffic laws by running stop signs and riding erratically. By posting this video I'm fully prepared to take the wrath of the Mayor's cycling lobby who will no doubt come back at me with the following justification for what you've just seen:
- I'm only showing one side of the story and should film cars at a busy intersection to demonstrate how bad the average driver is.
- Cyclists are saving the environment by leaving their cars at home. Cut us some slack, dude.
- These are just isolated incidents at one intersection and don't reflect the wider cycling population whom for the most part are law abiding citizens.
- Blah, blah, blah
No matter how you slice it, was you see on this video is a clear indication to me that the Vancouver police need to better enforce the laws when cyclists choose to ignore them. However, when the Chair of the Vancouver Police Board just happens to ride his bike in support of Critical Mass and is caught cycling through red lights, well...
What do you think? Should more be done to crack down on reckless cyclists – like this guy riding down Dunsmuir Street – who call Vancouver home? Good luck if you think it's going to happen under the reign of Red Light Robertson.
- This post was first published in July 2010 by Daniel.