By Scott Strasser
The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition (CVCC) is taking its concerns with local road conditions to higher government.
Members of the CVCC are worried about the paving conditions of certain roads in the Valley, including Ryan Road, Anderton Road and Little River Road. Though the main travel lanes were laid with new pavement, the shoulders where cyclists usually travel were left unchanged.
CVCC president Margaret Harris said the poor conditions on the shoulder will entice cyclists to use the main travel lanes, putting themselves in danger.
“Cyclists are allowed to ride in the lanes in which cars go by law, but obviously by choice, cyclists would prefer to ride on the hard shoulder so we’re not affecting motorized traffic and we’re in a safer spot,” Harris said. “But when you’re obliged to move out into the travel lane, that’s dangerous. You’re changing lanes constantly, which makes you much more vulnerable than if you’re travelling in a straight line.”
Harris says there are many potential hazards for cyclists trying to switch back and forth between the shoulder and the main travel lane. She mentioned the possibility that riders may catch a tire when changing lanes.
“People moving from hard shoulder onto the main travel lane, in some places there is a lip, or a difference in height between the two surfaces. Someone trying to cross that on a bicycle has the potential to catch their wheel and it could cause someone to go down, right in front of the car that’s about to run over them,” she said.
According to Harris, the CVCC has already had discussions with local governments, as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the paving issue.
But with little advocacy success at the local level so far, the coalition is now contacting Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office and Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord John’s office.
“We can talk to the regional district and get an agreement regarding what we believe should be happening, but they don’t control what takes place on the roadways. My understanding is, it’s not been a very successful dialogue,” Harris said. “It becomes a political issue. We’ve had to take it on up. We’ve had good conversations with the Ministry of Transportation, but I would say they’ve been ineffective.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure replied to an interview request from The Record with the following statement:
“Ministry staff are aware of cyclists’ concerns regarding the recent hot-in-place resurfacing on Anderton and Ryan roads. While the resurfacing work is complete, the project still needs line markings which will clearly delineate the shoulders for cyclists and pedestrians, and this work is expected to occur mid to late August,” reads the statement.
The CVCC is a bicycle advocacy group based in the Comox Valley. The coalition has approximately 150 members.