N.W. Marine Drive cycling crackdown is dangerous, say riders

A Vancouver cycling coach says an RCMP officer issued her a warning after she refused to ride on an unsafe sidewalk along N.W. Marine Drive near Spanish Banks.

A Vancouver cycling coach says cyclists have a right to use the road

Three images taken from Google Street View show, from left to right: walkers on the separated pathway on the beach side of NW Marine Drive near UBC; a cyclist on the part way up the hill on the roadway; and a sign at the base of the hill instructing cyclists to stick to the pathway, and to stay off the road. (Google Street View)

A Vancouver cycling coach says an RCMP officer issued her a warning after she refused to ride on an unsafe sidewalk along N.W. Marine Drive near Spanish Banks.

On Sept. 28, Barb Morris was riding with her cycling group, whose members regularly train along N.W. Marine Drive.

"We've been riding up that hill for years," says Barb Morris, of the winding forested road that leads from the beach at Spanish Banks to the west side of the University of British Columbia.

She says there were about a hundred other cyclists riding in that area Sunday when RCMP officers tried to reroute her group onto the sidewalk, pointing to a sign that she had never noticed before.

When she refused to move onto the sidewalk she was issued a warning and told next time she could face a $129 fine.

"I don't understand it," she told CBC Radio One host Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

Morris says moving large groups of cyclists onto a narrow sidewalk that is only a a foot wide and along an eroding pathway is both impractical and unsafe.

She doesn't see how cyclists, runners and dog walkers can share that path without someone getting hurt, adding large groups of cyclists use that hill for triathlon and race training regularly on Saturday mornings.

"Groups of five to 20 ride up there as part of the UBC loop," she says.

"There are five clubs that I'm aware of doing that. In the summer, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings is the busiest for cyclists using UBC for hill repeats."

After the incident, Barb started tweeting about it and one of her cycling friends started a petition asking the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to change the sign.

Cyclist David Dunnison measured the sidewalk width to be 72 cm in some sections. Provincial guidelines state that a path with a concrete barrier and shared pedestrian-cycling traffic must be at least 2.5 metres wide. (David Dunnison)

The ministry responded by saying it is "reviewing the signage that is along this section of roadway to ensure that vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians can travel through this area in the safest possible manner."

According to the ministry's own guidelines, if a path next to a concrete roadside barrier is used by cyclists and pedestrians, the minimum width from the edge of barrier to the outside edge of pavement should be 2.5 m for one-way bicycle traffic and 3.5 m for two-way bicycle traffic.

A representative from the UBC RCMP Detachment could not be reached for comment.


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