Darrell Wick

Saanich aims to ease bike-car conflict

Saanich is looking to boost cyclist safety on a popular bike route with new signs that will hopefully give clarity on how to share the road.

Saanich is looking to boost cyclist safety on a popular bike route with new signs that will hopefully give clarity on how to share the road.

Ash Road, a long, straight stretch without bike lanes that is part of several bike touring routes, is now asking motorists to pass cyclists in the oncoming lane when safe, but to stay single file when moving through the S-curves approaching Mount Douglas Parkway (Cedar Hill Road).

The strip of Cedar Hill Road through the park has a sign asking cars to pass in the oncoming lane when safe. It’s unlikely either stretch of road will get bike lanes in the near future, said Darrell Wick, who sits on Saanich’s bike and pedestrian committee.

“We felt Ash Road was so narrow and dangerous and cars go fast, and they try to pass in a blind corner,” Wick said. “The hill is a problem as cyclists go up, there isn’t enough room (for cars) and its not fair for a car to create a single file.

“Let’s face it, there’s a lot of touring cyclists going around the waterfront. It’s amazing the number of cyclists going by (on Ash Road).”

Wick said the committee isn’t pushing for bike lanes on Ash or Cedar Hill roads near Mount Douglas Park, due to other priorities, such as building bike lanes into McKenzie Avenue near the University of Victoria, and on northern sections of Shelbourne Street. He advocated for new signs, which found strong support with Saanich.

“There was good support from the committee and engineering. They agreed the road is narrow and doesn’t have bike lanes. They felt a sign was an appropriate next step,” he said. “I think it will help. The signs will emphasize there is not enough room in one lane.”

Wick, who has sat on the cycling and pedestrian committee for 20 years, said Saanich went from zero bike lanes two decades ago to an extensive network that is constantly a work in progress.

“We’ve come a heck of a long way, and the number of people cycling has gone up considerably,” he said.

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