Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS

Watch For Bikes Initiative 4

CAA Watch For Bikes Initiative

CAA’s “Watch For Bikes”initiative / from CAA handout

In lieu of proper bike infrastructure, how can drivers and cyclists better co-exist on our streets? This is a question that is pondered frequently on this website and was the basis for our ‘i share the road’ campaign.

An annual initiative called “Watch For Bikes” also attempts to address this by encouraging safe driving and bicycling. The initiative was created by a partnership between the Canadian Automobile Association and the City of Toronto.

The campaign includes a handout with a sticker that is affixed to the driver’s side mirror with the text “Watch For Bikes”.

From the “Watch For Bikes” handout:

When you are driving

Remember to check carefully for cyclists approaching from behind before opening your vehicle door. The fine for opening a door into a cyclists’s path is $110 and two demerit points.

When you are cycling

As a general rule, ride about one metre (three feet) away from the curb or parked vehicles in an urban environment. This makes it easier to avoid potholes, debris, vehicle doors and makes you more visible to the people around you. Always wear appropriate safety gear and ride with traffic.

The CAA has historically been on the wrong side of the discussion as it has generally promoted the proliferation of car culture and some of its initiatives actually encourage Canadians to drive more.

However, the “Watch For Bikes” initiatives promotes safe driving and cycling and provides some much-needed bicycle education and awareness for Canadian drivers that is lacking in the current government driver education programs and exams.

Sure, they could have chosen a better photo of a “citizen cyclist” for their handout, but they seem to have the right intentions with this initiative.

From the back-side of the “Watch For Bikes” handout:

When you make good decisions while you are driving or cycling, you will keep yourself and everyone else around you safe, too.

Here’s how:

  • Take a CAN-BIKE (www.toronto.ca/cycling/canbike) or driver’s education course (www.caasco.com/automotive) and upgrade your skills.
  • Stay alert when you drive or cycle
  • Slow down and leave yourself enough space when you drive or cycle to give you and others time to react
  • Know the rules of the road

Also, think about the environment and use your bicycle for short trips.

In addition to its “Watch For Bikes” campaign, the CAA has also recently initiated a program to provide roadside assistance for bicycles – with the option to transport your bicycle up to 320km if the problem can’t be fixed on the spot.

The CAA also hosted a conference in Vancouver on May 25th, 2011 called “Changing Lanes” which provided a much needed discussion about “how bikes and cars can better co-exist on Canada’s roads”.

These initiatives by an “automobile” club highlight the seismic changes we are seeing in Canada as citizens are becoming more aware of the benefits of bicycle transportation over driving.

CAA Watch For Bikes Initiative

CAA Watch For Bikes Initiative

CAA’s “Watch For Bikes”initiative / from CAA handout

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

i share the road

Related Articles:

  • Joe Arruda

    Hi James
    I have stopped and picked up these flyers at my local CAA and hand them out at a high school where cars are lined up with parents dropping off kids and I was hit by a passenger door
    As well CAA will have an Advertising Public Education Campaign in their summer members magazine and have partnered with the Share The Road Cycling Coalition

  • Joe Arruda

    Hi James
    I have stopped and picked up these flyers at my local CAA and hand them out at a high school where cars are lined up with parents dropping off kids and I was hit by a passenger door
    As well CAA will have an Advertising Public Education Campaign in their summer members magazine and have partnered with the Share The Road Cycling Coalition

  • http://bicyclestc.blogspot.com/ Ryan

    CAA Niagara has finally jumped on board with a share the road campaign. http://thecitycyclist.blogspot.ca/2012/05/caa-niagaras-share-road-program.html

    Bill (from the K-W Record’s Take the Lane blog) sent me a few stickers last year. I put one on the back of my fender.

  • http://bicyclestc.tumblr.com/ Ryan

    CAA Niagara has finally jumped on board with a share the road campaign. (http://thecitycyclist.blogspot.ca/2012/05/caa-niagaras-share-road-program.html)

    Bill (from the K-W Record’s Take the Lane blog) sent me a few stickers last year. I put one on the back of my fender.