Etiquette instruction required on Victoria bike paths, bike shop owner says

Etiquette instruction required on Victoria bike paths, bike shop owner says

It’s no new news that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, cycling has become a popular activity to get exercise and even commute to work, but because of the pandemic temporarily closing businesses or people working from home, the volume of cycling has moved to different locations on bike paths.

“We have a really strong bike to work culture,” said Corey Burger, Policy and Infrastructure Chair for Capital Bike. “As people stopped riding to work, the numbers fell. But further afield when you go out to McKenzie and Gordon or out further west on [The Galloping Goose] the numbers were up because we saw more recreational ridership.”

Burger says that the trend of people cycling for recreational purposes is continuing to move in an upward direction for 2021 when compared to the past few years.

With an influx of people on the bike paths and lanes, however, some cyclists are saying there have been issues with pedestrians and cyclists alike when it comes to etiquette and courtesy on the trails around Greater Victoria.

“The nature of the bike paths and the trails that we have, most people consider them multi-use and I think that there’s a huge lack of education with the bike lanes and the trail,” said Corinne Besler, Co-owner of Ride the Glide RTG E-bikes Inc.

“Take the Galloping Goose or a portion of it at least heading into town, it’s divided where there is a spot for cyclists and a spot for pedestrians,” said Besler. “The problem is that people aren’t staying where they’re supposed to be. Walkers aren’t staying in the walking lanes, the cyclists are having to maneuver around people that are in the biking lane.”

Besler also feels that people using the separate lanes without the correct etiquette may end up causing some serious accidents.

“You’ve got pedestrians who are even in the pedestrian area, who have their dog on a long leash and the dog is in the bike lane,” said Besler. “If you’re coming around the corner as a cyclist, you’re not expecting to have an animal there, it’s just dangerous.”

Burger says these issues that are being seen on the paths like the Galloping Goose are a result of the number of people taking to the lanes for recreation.

He says that changes are being considered and reviewed, hopefully for the next year.

“In the long term, it really is about infrastructure. The CRD is already committed to doing a study this year of looking at widening the Goose and walk side in the busiest portions,” said Burger. “We’re hopeful that is racked up in time so that early next year, 2022 when the province announces the next amount of grants, the CRD is well placed to go and change that.”

Burger says between now and then, cyclists can look into the Bike Sense document, do a cycling course and be aware of others while out on the bike trails.

READ MORE: E-bikes now exempted from PST, local bike shops say demand may cause issues

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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