Island Voices: Pedestrian asks: How do I stay safe from cyclists?

Terry Wharton is a determined pedestrian.

A recurring situation is affecting my willingness to walk and enjoy the beautiful city I live in.

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I moved to Victoria four years ago and have loved walking, which I do most days, as my main form of exercise. I am 62 and try to stay active. I volunteer three to five days per week and generally walk or bus to and from my various places of activity.

Since I arrived in Victoria, I have been impressed as to the inclusion of all cyclists, pedestrians and so on, in encouraging an active lifestyle. This agenda has led to the construction of the bike lanes in downtown and planning for the commuting of many people by cycling, all admirable goals.

My issue, and what I need help with, is how to deal with the dangers of being a pedestrian in a city of cyclists.

Over the past two months, I have been knocked into, nearly run over on a pedestrian crossing, nearly hit a cyclist who ran a stop sign while I was driving and verbally abused at least a dozen times by cyclists.

I want to know what you suggest I say to a cyclist who is on the pedestrian-only side of the Johnson Street Bridge who knocks into me. I have tried ignoring them and get bumped, tried asking them to dismount, to which I have been the victim of hurled profanities and ignored and pushed past.

I am at the point where I feel my mental health is being affected as I now feel anxiety at the idea of walking on a footpath as a pedestrian.

Please tell me what I can do to stop this abuse of pedestrians by a few cyclists who do not seem to understand that cycle lanes and roads are for them and sidewalks are for pedestrians.

It is apparent that the city bylaw officers are no deterrent. Recently, I encountered a cyclist riding over the pedestrian-only side of the Johnson Street bridge while two bylaw officers were walking 20 metres ahead. I have never seen the police, even those on bicycles, issue warnings or tickets even when cyclists are on Pandora Avenue on the road, not the bike lanes, going the wrong way against traffic.

What are citizens to do? We are fighting this battle of arrogant entitled cyclists on our own, all the while paying for bike lanes to keep them safe.

Who is keeping me safe?

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