Despite the arrival of shorter and cooler days, cyclists continue to ride the roads and paths of the Comox Valley. We at the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition (CVCCo) are heartened by the increased ridership evidenced this summer throughout the region.
As members of the Cycling Coalition Education Committee, our mandate not only supports improved infrastructure but also safe cycling for all members of the community.
We completed our first bike rodeo of the season at Miracle Beach Elementary Oct 19, as part of our ongoing program to introduce safe cycling and rules of the road to Grade 4 and 5 students in School District 71. Three more campuses will be visited this school year. For six years, the coalition has supported this important curriculum for our youngest riders. In that time, 3,000 students have participated in learning skills related to road riding.
Unfortunately, these sessions reach only a small percentage of cyclists in the Valley. It is our hope, albeit optimistic, that young students will take home their lessons and share them with parents and older siblings.
In spite of our best efforts, however, unsafe cycling habits continue to persist amongst some riders, and these dangerous practices need to be addressed in forums other than rants in our local paper.
At recent meetings related to the Courtenay Recreation Master Plan, we proposed a town-sponsored training session for adults in order to address concerns regarding unsafe cycling behaviours. Hopefully, this suggestion along with our recommendations for additional infrastructure and linking corridors will be reflected in the final version of the plan. As a cycling coalition, we need more stakeholders to endorse and sponsor safe cycling in the face of increased cyclists and the need for alternate transportation routes into our traffic-congested communities.
In the meantime, the committee reminds riders to follow the simple rules of safe cycling — those same rules that we emphasize with our student riders at every bike rodeo.
Be Visible — Wear bright, reflective clothing. Use lights front and back, flashing rear if possible;
Be Predictable — Ride in a straight line and indicate to other vehicles when you deviate from that line by using proper hand signals.
Wear a helmet which is required by law in B.C.
And yes, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk and in crosswalks. As we tell the children, the beauty of being a cyclist is that at any time they wish to be a pedestrian they can dismount and become one. And any time they wish to become a vehicle, they can mount up and follow the rules of the road.