Cycling on the sidewalk is not legal in Victoria, unless you’re under 16-years-old or a police officer. (File Photo)

Why are some Victoria cyclists still using the sidewalk?

Safety concerns may be the answer, says expert

Have you ever been cut off by a cyclist on the sidewalk?

While many Victoria cyclists stick to the rules of the road, there are those who take liberties – using sidewalks to get from point A to point B.

Section 114 of Victoria’s streets and traffic bylaw states that cyclists over 16-years-old can’t ride bikes on sidewalks or paths that have signs indicating pedestrian use only. And those who choose to ignore the rules could face a $100 fine – reduced to $65 if paid within 30 days.

Cycling on the sidewalk should not be happening, said Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition.

“It’s definitely not a good thing. It’s a space for people walking,” he said. “Mixing bikes and people walking is, in general – not a very good idea.”

RELATED: Victoria bus drivers say shared space with cyclists not efficient use of new lanes

RELATED: Cycling coalition agrees priority lanes should be re-evaluated in Victoria

But Burger said typically cyclists are on the sidewalk for a reason: they feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the street.

“What we know from other places … is that building good, protective bike lanes reduced sidewalk riding.”

The bike lane on Blanshard Street stops briefly between Pandora and Caledonia avenues, and cyclists often take to the sidewalk there, Burger said.

Another solution is education, he added. There is no mandated or universal cycling education on the Island.

“One of the challenges we have in North America, is we don’t really teach our kids how to bike very well,” Burger said. “A lot of parents will tell their kids ‘bike on the sidewalk’ because the parent feels it’s safer – and to a certain extent it is. But that becomes internalized and when that kid becomes an adult, they’re still riding on the sidewalk.”

“There’s evidence that training produces better cyclists,” he said, adding that as biking infrastructure evolves, training should evolve with it. “The world has changed downtown, until a couple years ago there wasn’t a single bike-specific signal in downtown.”

The City of Victoria agreed education is the first line of action.

“Staff always consider the situation. Sometimes we have visitors from out of town who are not familiar with rules of road,” said Bill Eisenhauer, Victoria’s head of engagement.

“Where voluntary compliance is achieved, often no other enforcement will be necessary. Should the same person be encountered later committing the same offence, a ticket would be an option. Most people encountered, apologize and move to the roadway or bike lane.”

RELATED: CRD issues 40 warning tickets to rule-breaking cyclists

RELATED: Look to the Dutch for better bike networks, says Victoria cyclist

Education and courses for all ages are offered by the Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society and GoByBikeBC. They also offer training for cyclists on topics such as basic traffic safety, bike maintenance, night riding and overcoming barriers to cycling.


 

nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

City of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Intoxicated person taken into police custody, brought to hospital

Victoria Clipper suspends services through April 2021

International travel restrictions, COVID-19 uncertainty lead to decision

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read