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LETTER: Bike safety on the bridge

From reader Andrew Murray
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Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

This Hug appeared in Hugs and Slugs recently: “From a rider/driver to the cyclists who take the time to use the sidewalk when crossing the orange bridge. There is simply not enough room on the roadway to safely pass a cyclist. Cyclists be careful when passing pedestrians on the sidewalk.”

A few comments:

The distance a cyclist needs to cycle from leaving the shoulder to cross the Nelson Bridge until back on the shoulder is about 900 metres. At 15 km/h this takes about four minutes. Drivers need to be patient for the four minutes.

Allow the cyclist to own the road. Cyclists have the same right as drivers to travel along the travelling lane. It is illegal for vehicles to cross solid double yellow lines. Do not pass the cyclist in order to gain four minutes. Doing so will scare and endanger cyclists.

It is illegal to cycle on sidewalks unless the city creates a bylaw to allow this or puts up signs that cyclists may use the sidewalk (I recommend this). However, many people understandably do cycle on the sidewalk as cycling across BOB is scary. But there is the risk, when cycling at close quarters past a pedestrian, of inadvertently going off the sidewalk and falling in front of a vehicle. Cyclists, when you are on the sidewalk and near a pedestrian, stop cycling and wait for the pedestrian to pass or push your bike past the pedestrian. Don’t scare or pressure the pedestrian.

The flashing lights system most of the time is triggered appropriately and does alert drivers to a cyclist on the bridge. It is not a wonderful solution but it reduces the risk of accidents.

Cantilevered bike paths on the sides of the bridge would have been a wonderful solution.

Andrew Murray

Nelson