Cycling accident prompts calls for bike lanes
With the arrival of warmer weather, more Edmonton cyclists are riding on city streets.
However, after a serious accident Friday that sent one cyclist to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, many bike riders are expressing concern for their safety.
"As a cyclist, you are forever aware that you are the vulnerable road user," said Chris Chan, a member of a bicycle advocacy group. "You’re never really desensitized to that fact, so certainly when something like that happens, it’s something that cyclists relate to."
Chan thinks that adding more bike lanes would benefit everyone on city streets — whether traveling on two wheels or four.
"If you’re riding in a straight line [along a bike lane], and not weaving in and out of parked cars and hugging the edge of the roadway, then drivers can treat you as just another vehicle. they know what to expect, and that makes it easier for everybody."
Marty Deslauriers agrees.
Deslauriers gets around most days on his bicycle. He says he’s had close calls in the past, and is worried that one day he won’t be so lucky.
"It's scary, man," he said. "We won't ride on the main main road because cars are going by too fast, and usually there’s cars parked."
He thinks the city could do more to make the roads safe for cyclists.
"I wish there were more bike paths. They should have them on the main streets because it’s even scary riding on the streets. There’s nowhere to ride."
And it’s not only the cyclists who think the lanes are a good idea.
Edmonton driver Carissa Hoy says it can be nerve-wracking to see cyclists weaving through traffic and parked cars.
"Bikers can be kind of crazy sometimes — especially going down Whyte Avenue where there’s really so space at all for them," she said.
"I feel like if there were more bike lanes throughout the city, [cyclists] could have more options and it’s... better for drivers as well, because it’s scary driving sometimes when you see a biker swipe by you. It’s unexpected."
Chan says the city is planning to create some more bike lanes this year. But in the meantime, he thinks drivers and cyclists should learn to share the roads more safely.
"A lot of cyclists and drivers lack the awareness of what the rules are on how to cooperate, negotiate and communicate with each other," he said.
Because at the end of the day, says Chan, "we’re all just trying to get where we want to go safely and comfortably."