EDITORIAL: Biking for all
Tri-City has a long way to go before it becomes a cycling mecca where hopping on a two-wheeler is as common as turning on the ignition.
Despite good intentions, it has been an uphill battle to make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to get on a bike and cycle from their door to a recreational spot or downtown to do errands.
While the region is blessed with bicycle trails and grand efforts have been made to establish marked bike routes on city streets, biking is neither easy nor convenient for the average cyclist. Geography not withstanding — there are lots of hills to deal with — surely more could be done to create safe routes to key parks, recreation centres, schools, shopping, places of employment and tourist destinations in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
Painting a white line and a picture of a bike on a city street isn’t enough. There may be places where bike routes should be separated from traffic to encourage safer biking, and there could be better signage, more promotion, convenient bike racks and traffic light switches that are easy to reach from a bike.
City festivals should encourage people to take bikes and road closures could be considered to make this possible. While traffic is an issue, there may be a way to encourage and promote occasional street closures to make it easy for people to bike to certain downtown locations or special events on some summer weekends.
As well, more co-operation between cities is needed to create bike routes that cross city boundaries. This would put a stop to situations where marked bike routes end at city borders. What’s a cyclist to do — take flight?
While much planning and advocacy has gone into making it easier to get across bridges and through the Tri-Cities so commuter cyclists can get to work or long-haul road warriors or MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) can get in shape for the Whistler Grand w, fewer initiatives have been introduced to promote other kinds of cycling.
What’s needed is a consensus that cycling is not just an activity for certain groups but a valid form of transportation for many.