Cycling on the sidewalk is not legal in Victoria, unless you’re under 16-years-old or a police officer. (File Photo)

Why are some Victoria cyclists still using the sidewalk?

Safety concerns may be the answer, says expert

Have you ever been cut off by a cyclist on the sidewalk?

While many Victoria cyclists stick to the rules of the road, there are those who take liberties – using sidewalks to get from point A to point B.

Section 114 of Victoria’s streets and traffic bylaw states that cyclists over 16-years-old can’t ride bikes on sidewalks or paths that have signs indicating pedestrian use only. And those who choose to ignore the rules could face a $100 fine – reduced to $65 if paid within 30 days.

Cycling on the sidewalk should not be happening, said Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

“It’s definitely not a good thing. It’s a space for people walking,” he said. “Mixing bikes and people walking is, in general – not a very good idea.”

RELATED: Victoria bus drivers say shared space with cyclists not efficient use of new lanes

RELATED: Cycling coalition agrees priority lanes should be re-evaluated in Victoria

But Burger said typically cyclists are on the sidewalk for a reason: they feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the street.

“What we know from other places … is that building good, protective bike lanes reduced sidewalk riding.”

The bike lane on Blanshard Street stops briefly between Pandora and Caledonia avenues, and cyclists often take to the sidewalk there, Burger said.

Another solution is education, he added. There is no mandated or universal cycling education on the Island.

“One of the challenges we have in North America, is we don’t really teach our kids how to bike very well,” Burger said. “A lot of parents will tell their kids ‘bike on the sidewalk’ because the parent feels it’s safer – and to a certain extent it is. But that becomes internalized and when that kid becomes an adult, they’re still riding on the sidewalk.”

“There’s evidence that training produces better cyclists,” he said, adding that as biking infrastructure evolves, training should evolve with it. “The world has changed downtown, until a couple years ago there wasn’t a single bike-specific signal in downtown.”

The City of Victoria agreed education is the first line of action.

“Staff always consider the situation. Sometimes we have visitors from out of town who are not familiar with rules of road,” said Bill Eisenhauer, Victoria’s head of engagement.

“Where voluntary compliance is achieved, often no other enforcement will be necessary. Should the same person be encountered later committing the same offence, a ticket would be an option. Most people encountered, apologize and move to the roadway or bike lane.”

RELATED: CRD issues 40 warning tickets to rule-breaking cyclists

RELATED: Look to the Dutch for better bike networks, says Victoria cyclist

Education and courses for all ages are offered by the Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society and GoByBikeBC. They also offer training for cyclists on topics such as basic traffic safety, bike maintenance, night riding and overcoming barriers to cycling.


 

nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Songbirds return to their roost in the West Shore

Tips, such as keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers, can attract more birds

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read