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LETTER: Changes to Motor Vehicle Act put cyclists on road to a safer ride


I have considerable concern with the letter you published in your Aug. 3 edition. The letter writer, Llwyen Friars, is factually wrong when they suggest there is nothing in the B.C. MVA prohibiting pedestrians or mobility scooters in a cycling lane. Section 153.2 of the act is very clear that designated use lanes, i.e. cycling lanes, are for the exclusive use of the ones it is designated for. The recent amendments to the act, Bill 23, further clarify the use of the lanes and define a new class of road user - the “vulnerable road user” further clarifies who can use cycling lanes and specifically does not include pedestrians and mobility scooters. It would have been nice if the letter writer had their facts straight.

Compounding the problem of using a cycling lane is many mobility scooters and pedestrians seem to feel they can travel in either direction in the lane and expect the cyclist to swing out into traffic to go around them. A scientific study found that 40% of cyclist fatalities are caused by being hit from behind. From personal experience, I know being hit from behind while riding on the paved shoulder by a gravel truck travelling at highway speeds is not a fun experience. Yes I can appreciate bouncing along on a sidewalk over the expansion cracks etc. is not pleasant, but being hit from behind by a gravel truck is less pleasant.

I note the letter writer feels the sidewalks are not wide enough for mobility scooters. Most sidewalks are over two metres wide, yet for some reason when a mobility scooter is in a cycling lane, often less than 1.5 metres it is wide enough. The logic there escapes me.

The letter writer seems to feel a cyclist has no right to safe use of our roads, I have even had pedestrians demand I vacate a cycling lane because they wanted to walk there.

As we transgress to new forms of mobility, accommodation from all is required. The recent amendments to the MVA while not perfect are a reasonable effort to establish a balance between all road users. For too long cyclists have been treated as if they must yield to any other form of mobility.

Part of the problem is the municipalities’ responsibility to fix. I have seen little sign in their active transportation plans they are addressing the deficiencies. Not only is a paved shoulder designed wrong to be a cycling lane (often too narrow, crossfall is opposite to what is required for safe cycling and the spiral into the curve is too short – yes, I used to design roads) but with the often numerous depressions for manholes, etc. they are virtually unrideable in some cases. Adding to the problems, they have taken the safe spot for pedestrians when no sidewalks are present, creating conflict between various vulnerable road users.

Norm Ryder

Central Saanich