Jun 9, 2009


yesterday, 2 bottle-pickers collided under this bridge resulting in serious injuries to both men.

if you have ever ridden through here you will know that this section of the pathway system was an accident site waiting to happen. it is impossibly narrow, has blind corners and has a descent to the bottom in both directions. simply put, it is an accident trap that was finally sprung by these two unfortunate fellas.

(picture pulled from cbc webstory)

sadly, this section is not the only death-trap on our pathway system - there are many, many more areas that are just as dangerous.

say what you want about the city's responsibility here - the reality is that our current pathway system was never designed with the amount of bike traffic it is seeing now - and the situation is only going to get worse as more people choose to get out of their cars for commuting, exercise, eco-consciousness or what-have-you.

the thing that i am most concerned about is that through all the media reports and news articles is the focus seems to be to make these two guys look like irresponsible idiots and to chastise them for not wearing helmets. irresponsible? maybe. wearing helmets? who the fuck cares???

helmets are not mandatory for adults in this province. full stop.

yesterday afternoon, i was listening to the homestretch and the host jeff collins going on and on about this story, he made no effort to put the focus on the actual pathway system's difficiencies but instead kept talking about the fact that these guys were not wearing helmets. helmet use is not the issue here - the issue is our pathway system. i had to phone into their talkback line to voice my frustration at their focus on helmets and not on the pathways.

the real issue is that the city has made virtually no effort to establish functional on-street bikeways that average folk can use safely. instead, the city has consistently directed bicycles onto the regional pathway system and the conflicts with other users is growing. if the current situation is allowed to get worse we will probably be reading a story soon about someone getting killed on the pathway. on top of that, you have you have "bylaw bruce" saying that they will be using radar to ticket speeding cyclists this summer - it appears that there is an effort to disuade people from commuting by bike.

what needs to happen is that the city needs to make a real, long-term, sustained effort to establish safe on-street cycling facilities and routes that will allow commuting cyclists to get to work/home without using the regional pathways. the speed limit on the pathways is 20kph (10kph in many areas) and it is impossibly easy to break that speed limit without trying. 20kph is also too slow to make commuting viable for most folks as an average rider can attain 30kph without really trying.

until the city "gets off their wallet" and begins to direct the required funding to the transportation solutions department we will continue to see these sorts of collisions and cycle commuting as a viable form of transportation will never become as popular as it should be.

we need to the city to allocate 2% per year of the roads budget to cycle-commuting facilities and we need to start now.

you know, its sad really. calgary already has inplace an incredible "skeleton" of roadways that could be easily modified to include bikes without adversely affecting motorists.

what we lack is the political will to make it happen.


Robert said...

I agree 100%. What you have written here is what I have been vocalizing to anyone who would listen.

One additional issue I have been trying to get resolved with the city is off leash dogs on the pathways. So far this year only attacked 1/2 dozen times.

My goal is to have "bylaw bruce" out for one day tagging off leash dogs on the pathways. One day. Maybe even the sameday as the "radar-ticketing"

04smallmj said...

Speed limits for bicycles... Wow, I'm speechless :P. How are you supposed to measure that while riding anyway? I should that hope bicycle computers aren't compulsory there.