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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 -

(HALIBURTON COUNTY) - 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 Sue Shikaze, 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.

“Texting or using a cellphone when driving is illegal and completely inexcusable, especially given the terrible toll that distracted driving takes on our roadways,” says Constable Dianna Dauphinee, of the Haliburton Highlands OPP. “We need to say, ‘enough is enough,’ and strongly tell motorists to put away their phones because this dangerous behavior will not be tolerated.”

Constable Dauphinee also has advice for pedestrians. When walking along a road, pedestrians should always face traffic. If trying to cross a road, she suggests pedestrians only do so at marked crosswalks or traffic lights – never 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 Chris Whittemore, an avid local cycler and president of the Haliburton Real Easy Ryders 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,” she 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. Whittemore also encourages cyclists to be aware and alert, ready to anticipate the next move of drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists.

For more road safety tips, people can visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.

For media inquiries, contact:

Sue Shikaze, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391,

or Constable Dianna Dauphinee, Haliburton Highlands OPP Detachment, (705) 286-1431,

or Chris Whittemore, President, Haliburton Real Easy Ryders Cycling Club, (705) 457-4751.

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