Saturday, December 10, 2022
December 10, 2022

Editorial: Cyclists deserve safer travels

Unfortunately, another flag can be added to the injured cyclist map maintained by longtime cycling infrastructure advocate Brenda Guiled.
Earlier this year, Salt Spring resident Guiled presented her map in conjunction with raising awareness about the need for Salt Spring Island to be included in the Salish Sea Trail Network. That would see dedicated cycling lanes built between the Vesuvius and Fulford ferry terminals, including the island in an official southern Vancouver Island-area loop.
Fortunately, when a van crossed in front of a young man at the bottom of Ganges hill on Oct. 26, the bike rider’s helmet took the brunt of the impact and he was not severely injured. As well, all of the support provided by people on scene and expressed by community members afterwards has helped the family cope with a traumatic event.
It’s easy for both cyclists and drivers to imagine themselves being either the cyclist suddenly confronted with a vehicle in front of them, or the driver who did not see the bicycle and rider.
Robin Jenkinson of the Cycling Salt Spring group of Island Pathways was one of the people providing assistance that day, and offers good advice for everyone to follow. She says cyclists should make themselves as visible as possible by wearing bright clothing and installing flashing lights on the front and back of their bikes. She urges drivers to slow down and be on the lookout for cyclists, who are entitled to use the roadways. Drivers need to train their brains to be looking for not only other vehicles but cyclists and pedestrians as well when they are ready to make a turn or driving on a windy road.
A wider paved shoulder is part of the plan when Fulford-Ganges Road is supposedly repaved from the bottom of Ganges hill up to Cranberry Road this summer, which should be an improvement. But it is not the same as a bicycle lane.
Everyone is encouraged to help promote safe cycling and the benefits of including Salt Spring in the Salish Sea Trail Network. A petition is available for signature on the Action Network site.
As the preamble to that petition states: “Completing the network’s only ‘broken link’ — Salt Spring Island — would also solve a terrible safety problem keeping cycling from being a part of our lives, like it was only a generation ago.”

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