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LETTER: Langley letter writer argues for protected bike lanes to get more people riding

Many people don’t feel safe riding bikes on public roads, local resident says

Dear Editor,

Re: [LETTER: Measures improve cycle safety, Langley Advance Times, Feb. 10]

Taking advise from “avid” anyones including cyclists needs to be taken with a grain of salt as it often represents entrenched personal opinions and potential misinformation.

While the measures that Ben Wiens in his letter to the editor add a bit of safety to use of a bicycle for those who are already risking travel alongside motorized traffic, the “strong and fearless, enthused and confident,” it will do little to nothing to encourage the 60 per cent of people, the “interested but concerned, and no way, no how” crowd who would want to use bicycles for transportation but for the fly in the ointment – the hazards of motorized traffic.

I asked a number of interested but hesitant acquaintances whether doing any of Mr. Weins’ recommendations would give them the confidence to venture out into traffic on a bicycle and the resounding answer was “no’, that none of the measures protected them from one or two tons of steel at speed in the hands of a distracted/inattentive driver.

The only thing that would entice them out on the streets on a bicycle would be protected bike lanes. Protected as in separated by a barrier, not a line painted on the road, which also functions as a fog line and on close observation is often seen worn thin by traffic driving on it.

The solution will never be a louder bell, a stronger helmet or brighter clothing, although all are important elements to consider. I had on all of those, including a flashing white light on my handle bars when a driver ignored (claimed not to see me) my presence in the roundabout which resulted in my slamming into the car. Yes, the helmet saved a more severe concussion, but wasn’t needed because of either my own poor road sense or bike handling skills. The ambulance attendant’s response to my story was “Look, we are big, white and with flashing lights, and drivers still hit us.”

I don’t want to be in the way of motorized traffic, but I don’t have much choice with the type of travel options, on the road or protected pathways, available and am not about to give up riding a bike for transportation or recreation.

The solution to increasing the mode of transportation by bicycle, if our local government is interested in doing so, will always be political will to protect the vulnerable. Direction to transportation engineers needs to come from councils that they wish the transportation mode by bicycles to increase as the former will not push this initiative.

It is not in their DNA, movement of motorized traffic is. Everything else is a distraction and victim blaming.

Why not built full all ages and abilities protected bikes lanes that everyone could feel safe using them and motorists can carry on unimpeded with their travels?

All users of the road benefit from protected bike lanes.

John Evanochko, Murrayville

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bike lanesLetter to the Editor

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