Cyclists seeking safer routes and driver education

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Biking promoters have a vision they’d like to see become reality. It doesn’t include having bottles thrown at cyclists by motorists or being crowded off the road by traffic – as some who attended a meeting at Meadowfields School described experiencing.

The Nova Scotia Bikeways presentation and

consultation on Oct. 20 was a partnership event organized by Bicycle Nova Scotia, Eastwind Cycle Consulting and Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection.

Peter Williams, co-owner of Eastwind Cycle, facilitated the meeting, which close to 35 attended. “Most motorists don’t actually want to kill us,” he said to laughter, after listening to accounts of traversing dangerous cycling routes (the airport stretch and along Lake Milo).

Some cyclists used the Magdalene Islands as an example of a cycle-friendly environment.

In the Nova Scotia Bikeways Report executive summary “vision”, safe bikeways and bicycle infrastructure planning becomes integrated into transportation planning at the municipal and federal level, with the province developing a culture of cycling that involves Nova Scotian residents as well as visitors from near and far.

Frank Grant, director of Yarmouth Leisure Services says there is a tremendous cycling community of at least 200 in the area. “Safety is a big concern - road shoulders are not wide enough and bikers are getting struck by cars,” said Grant. “Public education and awareness needs improvement; after all, cyclists are part of the Motor Vehicle Act.”

Grant says the above is a big step for the province but improvements are underway.

For instance, "Share the Road" signs have been erected with good results.

Tourism is a key component of cycling, he added and a bike route from the waterfront to the lighthouse should be explored. “Perhaps we could look at the roads that are safer and promote them,” said Grant. “The Yarmouth County Active Transportation Committee has been established since May of 2008 and it’s done lots of work in advocacy/education. “It’s currently working on a bike rack project which will see bike racks installed at sites around the community. The committee would be a perfect group to be the "point of contact" for Yarmouth County for future work on the NS Bikeways Report and Vision,” he said.

The full executive summary report on Nova Scotia Bikeways Vision can be downloaded at www.eastwindcycle.com

Organizations: Eastwind Cycle Consulting, Yarmouth Leisure Services, Yarmouth County Active Transportation Committee Nova Scotia Bikeways Vision

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Lake Milo, Nova Scotian Yarmouth County

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