Cyclists and motorists clash on roads around Priddis

Tensions are rising between some residents around Priddis southwest of Calgary and the legions of cyclists who like the area’s scenic winding roads.

Local resident says some riders refuse to move over for vehicles

Some people living in the Priddis area south of Calgary are fed up with cyclists who ride several abreast on the rural roads. (Suzanne Oel)

Tensions are rising between some residents around Priddis southwest of Calgary and the legions of cyclists who like the area's scenic winding roads, with both groups accusing each other of making things unsafe.

The problem is that some of the bikers are not following the rules of the road and cycling single file even when vehicles come up behind them, says area resident Sharon Pelachuk.

"And we have to honk. Last weekend I had to honk three times in order to get somebody to move over.… It's dangerous," she said.

"Because, if you're coming up over a hill, and you're doing 80 and all of a sudden they're there."

But according to Jeremy Kitson of the Calgary-based Cyclemeisters Club, there's enough space on some parts of Plummer's Road — one of the most popular routes — that makes single-file riding unnecessary.

"It's a very wide shoulder on that road, it's a very straight road in sections, so there's no visibility issues. There's no reason why we couldn't ride two abreast going down that road," he said.

"And if we're riding too wide, and a car is passing us on our side, it is a single yellow line in spots but it's also a passing lane in other spots."

'They do it quite intentionally'

He said if there's no traffic on the road, there is no reason why the driver can't pass them like any other vehicle.

"A lot of people refuse to move over to the other lane, so they stay in our lane, and you'll pretty much get rubbed by the side mirror on a larger truck going by. And they do it quite intentionally, and they also do it at full speed."

 M.D. of Foothills Coun. Suzanne Oel sees it differently.

"There is no shoulder on Plummer's Road," she said, adding that cyclists who don't ride single file are putting themselves and others at risk.

"It seems there's no regard for their own safety or for the motorist's."

Oel says conflicts between cyclists and motorists are on the rise as the Priddis area gains popularity among riders.

"I'm definitely hearing from residents this year a lot more than any other year," she said.

"We've had to put up pit stop toilets because otherwise some of the riders will use our front yards for their bathrooms."

M.D. of Foothills Coun. Suzanne Oel says the community has been forced to put toilets along popular cycling routes to keep riders from using private property to relieve themselves. (Suzanne Oel)


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