Relative newcomer adds voice to cycling debate

Montreal offers good example of Canadian way to work with cycling crowd

I moved to Greater Victoria from Montreal seven years ago. As both a cyclist and motorist, I was shocked at the near-complete absence of true bike lanes.

It is not only in Europe that there are barrier-protected bike lanes. Montreal has been building a complete network of such lanes for many years now and they are being used. It also has a wonderful network of pleasure bike paths going along canals and so forth, with parallel gravel paths for pedestrians.

It was a shock to start cycling in Victoria without such protection – yet always wearing a helmet – and to find bike lanes that simply ended with the words “bike lane ends.” What is a cyclist supposed to do, levitate, dematerialize?

I remain dismayed by the fact Greater Victoria, despite its favourable climate and high number of active cyclists, has still not seriously faced the fact that many people enjoy cycling – for transportation and recreation/exercise. Jurisdictions still view the bike as a latecomer, grudgingly providing a little space on some roads.

I gather that other North American cities have also made protected paths that are being used – I believe both Seattle and Portland have such paths.

Victoria municipalities should wake up to the needs of their active and potentially more active citizens.

Christopher Heppner

Oak Bay