The City of Ottawa has found it necessary to put up new signs on McIlraith Bridge which state “Cyclists can take the lane; stop honking”.
The McIlraith Bridge crosses over the Rideau River and connects Main Street and Smyth Road. It has been narrowed because of construction work, and cars are not suppose to pass bicycles on the bridge because there is not enough room to do so safely. However, this didn’t stop some motorists from honking at cyclists and trying to pass them. Hence, the new signage.
Although it may seem a bit “snarky”, I can totally understand the need for such signs.
A few years ago I found myself riding through a similar construction zone on Sussex Drive. There were large signs stating “no passing” and telling cyclists to “take the lane”. I was riding in the middle of the lane behind a large dump truck that was doing about 30 km/h. After a while, the dump truck turned off, and I continued in the middle of the lane and increased my speed to 35 km/h (I had a good tailwind).
At this point the driver behind me revved up his engine and immediately closed the gap between his car and my back wheel. When I wavered off the centre of the lane ever so slightly, the car actually tried to pass me. He gave up when he realized he could not force me out of his way. He was clearly using his 3000 pound vehicle as a weapon of intimidation.
I’m always baffled by motorists who think 30 km/h behind a truck is okay, but 35 km/h behind a cyclist is intolerable.
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