Terry Bourque posted about Invest in Safety for Bike Riders on Hwy 19A from Fanny Bay to Royston on Facebook 2016-08-11 07:29:30 -0700We need safe transportation for all folks from 8 to 80 whether they are driving a motor vehicle, cycling or walking
The Comox Valley is the land of outdoor activity. It is known for mountain biking but equally enjoyed by people on road bikes. One popular route is through the rural Comox Valley communities situated between Cook Creek Road and Royston Road, a 30 km stretch along Hwy 19A. With an investment in better cycling infrastructure, the Comox Valley could become a mid-Vancouver Island cycling destination.
Even now, many people cycle this route: local cycling clubs, tourists and residents. It is rare not to spot a person on a bike here. This section of Hwy 19A offers the only transportation route by car, bike, transit or foot through the adjacent ocean front residential nodes and contains the access point to both Denman and Hornby Islands. It is also an important link for the bicycle circle route between Nanaimo, the Comox Valley, Powell River and the Sunshine Coast. The route offers a unique rural community experience for both locals and the growing number of people seeking adventure by bike.
In my experience, the best side of Hwy 19A between Royston and Cook Creek Road is its diverse natural setting offering vistas of Baynes Sound, aromas of the sea, stretches of forest and occasional viewings of wildlife from both the forest and the sea. The friendly unique rural communities along the route provide sanctuaries of rest, food and hospitality. The overall terrain is comfortable, with undulating sections but nothing steep. It is a route ideal for cycle tourism and transportation by bike, or rather could be.
The negative side is the road itself. It has areas of neglect and inadequate shoulder widths. The posted traffic speeds vary between 60-80 kmh. Generally it denies a bike rider a safe space. The shoulder is often too narrow, some spots as narrow as 9 inches wide; the cars too fast, many very large, and frequently not moving over nor slowing down enough for a cyclist to feel safe; the upkeep of the road shoulder is poor including overgrown greenery, gravel, and cracked and angled pavement, many of the bridge decks are shared with highway speed traffic with no refuge for the bike rider and interspersed during a bike ride is often parked vehicles that essentially force the cyclist off the shoulder into a travel lane meant for larger and faster moving traffic.My personal story, that fueled safety concerns on this stretch of roadway, occurred in June 2016. I experienced what felt like a near miss on two consecutive days: one with a logging truck that forced me off the road, the other with a swerving driver that fortunately swerved away just in time to continue swerving somewhere else. I can only guess that person was impaired.
My conclusion is this section of Hwy 19A does not consider public safety issues for people on bikes nor people on foot. The gold standard would be protected cycling and walking infrastructure, something, given my recent experiences, I am advocating for.
I believe improved cycling infrastructure on Hwy 19A in the Comox Valley would make the road safer for people on bikes. A likely outcome would be more residents cycling for transportation, and a marked rise in cyclotourism. The return on investment beyond the potential for saving a person’s life is the role cycling plays in climate action solutions, health care cost reduction, tourism and rural community economic growth.
Please email the Minister of Transportation and Highways, the Hon. Todd Stone to ask for investment for safer cycling infrastructure on Hwy 19A:
email@example.com, FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, PSSG.Minister@gov.bc.ca, email@example.com, claire.trevena.MLA@leg.bc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, CycleCV@gmail.com
Terry Bourque signed A Billion for Biking & Walking Petition 2016-08-11 07:28:58 -0700We need safe transportation for all folks from 8 to 80 whether they are driving a motor vehicle, cycling or walking
Bold Action Now
It is time for bold action now to enable every person, including older adults and children, in BC to cycle or walk for their everyday trips.
Investing $1 billion over ten years in cycling and walking will send a strong message to the world that BC is serious about addressing Climate Change.
Cycling and walking will become attractive choices for everyone, leading to significantly improved fitness and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, congestion, and traffic injuries and fatalities. The paths and protected bike lanes could also be used by people in wheelchairs and other mobile devices.
Investing in cycling and walking will benefit the economy by increasing tourism, reducing healthcare costs, increasing workplace productivity, attracting talented workers, and reducing the societal costs of traffic fatalities and injuries.
Cycling is Popular
There is broad public support for cycling improvements. In the B.C. on the Move Engagement Survey, 72% of respondents supported enhancing cycling infrastructure. Cycling is popular. Almost 70% of adults in BC ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42% at least once a month and 25% at least once a week. Many want to cycle more, with around 65% indicating they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes that protected them from traffic.
A Transportation Bargain
On a per dollar basis, we all benefit more from cycling more than other modes. While bike paths and protected bike lanes are a bargain that will benefit far more people per dollar invested than other transportation projects, it does take a significant amount of cash to build networks of them in communities around the Province. For example:
- Metro Vancouver: $850 million
- Capital Regional District: $275 million
- City of Kelowna: $267 million (cycling and walking)
- City of Chilliwack: $27 Million
- City of Kamloops: $13 Million
At current rates of investment, these plans will take 30, 40 or even 50 years to complete, leaving people to brave busy roads on their bikes or more likely, not bothering to bike at all. Today's children will be grandparents by then.
The Provincial investment combined with local and federal funds will enable the completion of ambitious local and regional plans across BC. For example, the Metro Vancouver Regional Cycling Strategy predicts that upon network build out, cycling will increase to 10% of trips. The CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan predicts cycling network build out cycling mode share will increase to 15%.
The funding for the $1 billion investment could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses, a reallocation of transportation budget, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
By providing people with practical and safe transportation choices, this investment would decrease the rate of the Carbon Tax required to meet Provincial goals also saving money for those who don't cycle or walk.
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates