Saskatoon Cycles Lobby Committee issued the following press release to the Saskatoon media yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bike Lanes No Place for Road Debris
Cyclists say bike lanes are useless unless maintained
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, April 29, 2011 – With winter finally over, cyclists are anxious to use Saskatoon’s bike lanes to commute to work, to exercise, or to go on a family outing. However, poor maintenance of the bike lanes, especially their use as a storage place for road and park debris, is making cycling dangerous.
Saskatoon Cycles is a cycling advocacy group working towards better cycling infrastructure for Saskatoon. “We want to make it safe for people of all ages to ride their bikes for work or pleasure”, says Sean Shaw, President.
“The city’s efforts to establish bike lanes are wasted if they don’t also commit to their maintenance”, says Cathy Watts, a member of Saskatoon Cycles and daily cyclist. “I can’t use the lanes if they are full of gravel, broken glass, potholes, and most recently, soil, grass, and leaves.”
Cyclists have grown accustomed to having their bike lanes in poor shape. Motor vehicle traffic deposits road debris in the lanes in the summer, snow crews use the lanes to store snow in the winter, and now park crews are depositing ankle-deep swaths of winter accumulations swept off park areas.
“I guess the assumption is that we can just wait for the sweepers to get around to these lanes. Maybe next week, maybe next month, maybe in June. In the meantime, we’re back in the traffic lane competing with cars for room. I don’t think that was the idea Council had when they installed these lanes”, says Tom Wolf, another member of Saskatoon Cycles.
Already Saskatchewan’s largest bike club with 375 members, Saskatoon Cycles is working with City staff to address some of these problems. “We’re suggesting that roads with bike lanes receive priority treatment so that they provide a safe riding surface, particularly in the early spring when the ridership is most vulnerable. This requires integration of schedules and priorities across civic departments – but it’s just not happening. By making maintenance of streets with bike lanes a year-round priority it will make it easier for both cyclists and motorist to get around on our busy streets”, says Shaw.
The outcome of a safe riding experience for cyclists is better health, reduced traffic congestion, and a greater quality of life for residents of Saskatoon.
Saskatoon Cycles – Safer Cycling for All
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