High Street in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

High Street in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

LETTER: A close call on High Street

From reader Sjeng Derkx

Last month during one of Nelson’s weekly family bike rides (which start 11 a.m. at the Saturday farmers’ market), 15 of us, ages between five and 65, rode through Baker Street and onto High Street, which is to become part of Nelson’s designated bike route.

As we entered the narrow, blind corner section there, a car with an out-of-province plate started to pass us, completely in the left lane. When a truck approached from the other direction, the car suddenly veered to the right, nearly pushing some of us off the road, nearly causing a head on collision. Only thanks to quick responses from the truck driver and the bicyclists, and some luck, nobody got hurt.

It is wonderful to see more and more bicyclists on Nelson’s streets, but the increased traffic will increase the kind of dangerous situations we experienced on High Street, and it may not always end so well. High Street is the right bike route between Fairview and downtown, but it is both narrow and curvy. It also accesses our campground, which invites drivers in sometimes very large campers, unfamiliar with the situation.

To create a safe, AAA (all ages and abilities) bike route, High Street needs to become a one-way street for cars. Not just for the safety of young bicyclists, but also for the many not-so-young but inexperienced Nelsonites on electric bicycles. One-way traffic still allows vehicular access to residents and campers and, with the highway just one block away, would cause only minor inconvenience. Inviting two way car traffic on a narrow, windy bike route, frankly deserves no AAA, but a D for dangerous and an F for foolish.

I congratulate city council on securing a $424,510 provincial grant for the construction of this bike route, and respectfully request council make High Street a two-way bike street, with one way vehicular traffic. Preferably before and not after a serious accident happens there.

Sjeng Derkx