I am one of those crazy people.
You know, those people who decide that they would like to transport themselves using the dotted lines on the major roads of Montreal, instead of the approved bus, metro lines, or sidewalks. Granted, we do have a few paths of our very own, which are usually overrun with cars wanting to park, pedestrians with a death wish, and other crazy people on bikes. There is no doubt about it, anyone who chooses to bike in Montreal has to be a little off their rocker.
However, when you overcome the fear and learn to use your cyclists noggin and peripheral vision, you find that Montreal is a city that is very friendly to cyclists. Here are a few pointers to help you survive (or at least have helped me survive so far).
- Wear a helmet, even if you are a hipster or have hair that flattens easily.
- Shoulder check every 10 seconds.
- Avoid taxi drivers at all cost – they tend to be hateful of cyclists and will try to run you over.
- Actually obey the traffic lights. Although the automobile drivers don’t often do this, you will gain respect from them and they will be less likely to run you over.
- Get a bell, or better yet, an airhorn so that you will have an outlet to express your frustration even if the automobile drivers won’t hear you.
- Don’t get between a bus and a curb – EVER. The space that you think you are enjoying will shrink to nothing at the next bus stop.
- Expensive bikes are for people who want a new bike every month. Buy the cheapest-looking bike you can find, or make your expensive bike look awful. Park your bike next to an expensive bike, so it will get stolen instead of yours.