The Okanagan Rail Trail connection from Vernon is being criticized by avid cyclists. (Photo - Tennille Litzenberger)

About cyclists and bike paths

LETTER: Kalamalka Road bike path bad design

I will start this letter with a few direct quotes from the Bike Sense Manual ( :

“It is illegal to cycle on the left side of a roadway.”

“It is illegal to cycle in a crosswalk.”

“It is against the law to ride on sidewalks.”

“Ride on the right, in the same direction as other traffic.”

“Drivers can underestimate the speed of cyclist, or they may not see you.”

“If there is no shoulder or bike lane and curb lane is narrow, cyclists may choose to take the whole lane by riding in the centre of it.”

I am an avid cyclist. I like to pedal to work. I enjoy mountain and road biking.

A couple months ago I was involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection of the Kalamalka Lake Road multi-use path and Browne Road, which resulted in a fractured leg and badly contused knee.

I have been commuting to work on Kal Lake Road for more than 10 years and I am very upset with the design of the new multi-use path. It is unsafe and hazardous to cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, because it forces northbound cyclists (travelling from Coldstream to Vernon) to ride contrary to the above mentioned traffic rules.

Why was such a wide multi-use path built, while eliminating the shoulders for the fast and confident cyclists to safely ride on?

How am I supposed to enter and exit the multi use path, when I need to continue to cycle along Kal Lake Road toward downtown when the bike path ends? Expecting a fast cyclist to get off their bike, wait for the light signal to stop traffic, walk across the crosswalk and resume cycling on the right side of the road is about as logical as expecting drivers to stop at an intersection, get out of their car and proceed to push it through and then resume driving.

The on and off ramps at both ends of the path are poorly designed, putting cyclists in the way of vehicles making turns.

The design problems continue on 29th Street, where a raised bike path is useless to road bikes and the landscaping obstructs the driver’s view of the path and the road.

I understand the effort and money spent to make us healthier communities where more people walk and cycle, but please design our bike and multi-use paths in a way that follows the traffic rules and doesn’t confuse and alienate cyclists and drivers.

I would also like to apologize to drivers for taking up part of the road, when I cycle northbound on the right side of Kal Lake Road toward Vernon. After the accident, I will not cycle that direction on the multi-use path as it proved to be unsafe for me.

Please encourage Vernon’s transport department to leave shoulders on roadways for confident cyclists to safely travel on (without obstructing the whole lane), instead of building overly wide pathways on only one side.

Tereza Novakova

READ MORE: Bring back road shoulders for cyclists

READ MORE: Cyclists don’t belong on sidewalks


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