Monday, June 30, 2008

Why cyclists don't belong on highways

The first time I came to Canada I was amazed about so many things. Here are just a few:

  • the many chain fast food restaurant per square km
  • Banff postmen wearing shorts in the middle of winter
  • the sincere friendliness of (most) Canadians
  • the incredible wildlife
But also this thing about cyclists on highways: isn't that dangerous?

I've been living in Victoria for a while now and I somewhat got used to some of the Canadian oddities, but whenever we pick-up European visitors from the airport, the first thing they will mention is the cyclist on the highway: "Are these people nuts?"

Yes, it's illegal in the Netherlands and Germany (countries in Europe I've travelled most) to ride your bicycle on a highway, but let's face it, it's also common sense. Cars and trucks kill, especially at high speeds.

Unfortunately it's too late for these cyclists:
A Quebec cyclist killed while riding next to his two teenage children as part of a cross-Canada charity trip is being remembered for his energy and efforts to raise awareness about diabetes.

Daniel Hurtubise, 50, was killed and his children were injured Sunday when they were hit by a car on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Winnipeg.

A 45-year-old man from Kelowna, B.C., was also killed in the collision, but officials have not released his name, saying it's unclear if his family has been notified.

The group was travelling from Vancouver to St. John's, N.L., with Ride of a Lifetime, a fundraiser for the Toronto-based Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Andrew McKee, the head of the foundation, says Hurtubise had an "energy and a spark," and his cycling journey helped raise awareness about the disease.

McKee says Hurtubise was 15 when he was diagnosed with Type-1 juvenile diabetes.

Very unfortunate.

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