The Most Annoying Thing About Cycling in Ottawa

We all agree that Ottawa is a great place for cycling, but it is not perfect. Apart from the fact that the City of Ottawa and NCC have to do a better job of completing the system and linking their pathways together there is the problem of a lack of washroom and drinking water facilities along the pathways.

However that is not my biggest complaint. Ottawa is supposed to be encouraging and promoting cycling and bicycles are supposed to be considered vehicles. But it all seems somewhat hypocritical.

Can you imagine someone in a vehicle stopped at a red light virtually forever, unable to move, without getting out of their vehicle and walking over to the side of the road and pushing a button. But that is the reality, more often than not, for cyclists in Ottawa who are stuck at red lights until a "real" vehicle or a pedestrian comes up to the intersection. It's that or just run the red light out of frustration and anger at the hypocrisy and lack of respect.


Alan M said...

My understand of the HTA, as verified by a few police officers, is that if a traffic light is not functioning, then you can treat it like a stop sign and proceed when it is safe to do so.

A sensor-activated traffic light that doesn't sense a bicycle and trigger the change cycle is not functioning for your vehicle. Accordingly, you are within the law, after stopping and determining that the light is non-functional, to simply proceed when it is safe to do so.

Of course, if there's a steady stream of cross traffic, that may be a bit dicey, in which case getting out of your vehicle (off the bike) to press the button may be the wiser choice.

Scott said...

Some traffic lights still take FOREVER to change, even if you press the walk button. One in particular that I stop at every morning is at the intersection of Carleton Ave and Scott St. I've seen pedestrians get impatient and eventually walk across Scott St against the light.

It will change eventually, and having a car beside you helps... a little.