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

Just Posted

Downtown Victoria Shoppers Drug Mart to take over previous Chapters location

The drug store is moving next door to take on a two-storey expansion

Home care transition could exacerbate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

Oak Bay student Ottawa bound as parliamentary page

Community-driven Leah Smith to join Page Program

United Way to recognize outstanding community members

The annual Spirit Awards celebration will feature 13 award recipients

Rickter Scale: More smoke and secondhand hindsight

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

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

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Experts butt heads in court, hunter loses case for return of ram

Despite expert testimony, judgement says ram probably underage

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Most Read