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SHARE THE ROAD

- ‘Three-For-All’ as Health Unit Urges Motorists, Cyclists and Pedestrians to Be Safe and Watchful for Each Other -

Road safety is a three-way street, as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all have a responsibility to share the road and be safe.

With the return of nicer weather, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging road users to respect each other’s right to be on the road. “Whether you’re out on two wheels, four wheels or two feet, it’s important to be safe, courteous and watchful for each other,” says Lisa Kaldeway, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Put simply: it’s the same roads, same rules, and same rights!”

Given the size and potential impact of motor vehicles, drivers especially need to be vigilant, she notes. For example, drivers should yield to pedestrians and bicyclists when in or entering a crosswalk. When approaching a cyclist or pedestrian along the roadway, it’s the law that motorists must leave at least one metre of clearance when passing. It’s also important for motorists to obey the posted speed limit, completely stop at each stop sign and red light, and never text while driving.

“Put your hands on the steering wheel and keep your eyes on the road,” says Constable Jackie Hildenbrand, of the Kawartha Lakes OPP. “Distracted driving, such as: using a hand-held device to talk or text is illegal and incredibly dangerous! We need to say, ‘enough is enough,’ and tell motorists to put away their phones.”

Constable Hildenbrand also has advice for pedestrians. When walking along a road, pedestrians should always face traffic. If trying to cross a road, she suggests pedestrians do so at crosswalks or traffic lights – not in the middle of the block or between parked cars. When crossing, people should also make sure drivers see them before they go into the road; if the driver is stopped, pedestrians should make eye contact before stepping out into the road. To increase their visibility, pedestrians are also encouraged to wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips at dusk or when it’s dark.

Cyclists also need to do their part to share the road, says Art Hornibrook, an avid local cycler and member of the Kawartha Cycling Club. “Cyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers and need to follow the same traffic laws. That’s the safest – and smartest – way to ride,” he notes.

Cyclists should always bike on the right with traffic, signal all turns, come to a complete stop at every stop sign and red light, ride straight in a predictable manner, use a properly-fitting bike helmet, and be visible by wearing bright colours and using lights – especially in the early evening and night. Hornibrook also encourages cyclists to be aware and alert, ready to anticipate the next move of drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists.

The Kawartha Cycling Club has been successful in obtaining a Road Safety Challenge grant from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Funds have been used to promote Share the Road messages and provide CAN-BIKE cycling skills training to children and youth in Kawartha Lakes. There will also be interactive road safety presentations provided by the OPP in local schools.

For more road safety tips, people can visit the MTO website.

For media inquiries, contact:

Lisa Kaldeway, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569,

or Constable Jackie Hildenbrand, City of Kawartha Lakes OPP Detachment, (705) 324-6741,

or Art Hornibrook, Member, Kawartha Cycling Club, (705) 887-1449.

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