Cycling on the sidewalk is not legal in Victoria, unless you’re under 16-years-old or a police officer. (File Photo)

Why are some Victoria cyclists still using the sidewalk?

Safety concerns may be the answer, says expert

Have you ever been cut off by a cyclist on the sidewalk?

While many Victoria cyclists stick to the rules of the road, there are those who take liberties – using sidewalks to get from point A to point B.

Section 114 of Victoria’s streets and traffic bylaw states that cyclists over 16-years-old can’t ride bikes on sidewalks or paths that have signs indicating pedestrian use only. And those who choose to ignore the rules could face a $100 fine – reduced to $65 if paid within 30 days.

Cycling on the sidewalk should not be happening, said Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

“It’s definitely not a good thing. It’s a space for people walking,” he said. “Mixing bikes and people walking is, in general – not a very good idea.”

RELATED: Victoria bus drivers say shared space with cyclists not efficient use of new lanes

RELATED: Cycling coalition agrees priority lanes should be re-evaluated in Victoria

But Burger said typically cyclists are on the sidewalk for a reason: they feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the street.

“What we know from other places … is that building good, protective bike lanes reduced sidewalk riding.”

The bike lane on Blanshard Street stops briefly between Pandora and Caledonia avenues, and cyclists often take to the sidewalk there, Burger said.

Another solution is education, he added. There is no mandated or universal cycling education on the Island.

“One of the challenges we have in North America, is we don’t really teach our kids how to bike very well,” Burger said. “A lot of parents will tell their kids ‘bike on the sidewalk’ because the parent feels it’s safer – and to a certain extent it is. But that becomes internalized and when that kid becomes an adult, they’re still riding on the sidewalk.”

“There’s evidence that training produces better cyclists,” he said, adding that as biking infrastructure evolves, training should evolve with it. “The world has changed downtown, until a couple years ago there wasn’t a single bike-specific signal in downtown.”

The City of Victoria agreed education is the first line of action.

“Staff always consider the situation. Sometimes we have visitors from out of town who are not familiar with rules of road,” said Bill Eisenhauer, Victoria’s head of engagement.

“Where voluntary compliance is achieved, often no other enforcement will be necessary. Should the same person be encountered later committing the same offence, a ticket would be an option. Most people encountered, apologize and move to the roadway or bike lane.”

RELATED: CRD issues 40 warning tickets to rule-breaking cyclists

RELATED: Look to the Dutch for better bike networks, says Victoria cyclist

Education and courses for all ages are offered by the Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society and GoByBikeBC. They also offer training for cyclists on topics such as basic traffic safety, bike maintenance, night riding and overcoming barriers to cycling.


 

nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

City of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

Residents to start moving into first of 100 new affordable homes in Langford

Construction underway on second phase of affordable Indigenous housing project in Langford

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read