More attention on bikers required

We all know the health benefits of exercise in preventing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, depression, and maintaining bone density and mobility.

We all know the health benefits of exercise in preventing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, depression, and maintaining bone density and mobility.

In Nelson, we have an increase in bike commuters and recreational cyclists in the city and on the North Shore, yet we still have poorly marked bike lanes and poor verge design. In Nelson, our downtown core has no bike racks for parking bikes.  Our waterfront pathways have no designated bike lanes and remain unpaved. Before some pooh-pooh biking as a regular method of getting around, perhaps one should review the research indicating cyclists live longer and they are healthier.

Continuing research confirms cycling can significantly increase a person’s lifespan and health, even when researchers weighed the risks of getting hit by a car or breathing in environmental pollution, the benefits of cycling were at least 10 times greater than the risks (Environmental Health Perspectives, http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/home.action).

Globally, governments are promoting bicycle transportation. Vancouver, where residents live in higher density neighbourhoods, similar to Nelson, promotes biking. Bike lanes are well marked by signage and by painted bike lanes.

The Vancouver downtown core has bike racks and bike lockers. The expansion of bike lanes has exposed some traffic issues; however, life expectancy in the Vancouver service area is 81.9 years, Richmond residents are living an average of 83.4 years, all higher than the BC average, including the Kootenays, of 80.9 years.   Exercise and active lifestyles are credited as a main factor in life expectancy (http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling).

I request Nelson council and the rural district review research and initiate proper cycle roadway design. Please install downtown bike racks for parking and don’t forget, the North Shore is a major corridor for commuters and recreation cyclists from Nelson and area; therefore, it should be included in design planning.

Please support living healthier and longer lives by building healthy infrastructure.

P.S.: Don’t let the hills make a sloth out of you, the new electric bikes available are awesome. June is Bike Month.

Linda Rollins RN BScN, Nelson