To the Editor,
Re: Season calls for road safety, Opinion, Nov. 20.
The editorial makes some excellent points in response to the tragic death of a 28-year-old cyclist on Wall Street on Nov. 16.
We agree all road users must take extra measures during the winter months. Motorists must respect speed limits and keep a keen eye for more vulnerable road users. Cyclists must also observe the rules of the road, as required by the Motor Vehicle Act.
However, these measures alone are not enough to ensure the safety of cyclists. Cycle routes must be well laid-out, adequately illuminated and safe – which is often not the case in the Nanaimo.
Our hope is that the timely implementation of the Transportation Master Plan will lead the city to invest in the necessary high-quality infrastructure such as segregated bike lanes to make cycling in Nanaimo truly safe, convenient and enjoyable.
Our organization is also concerned about the general media response to this fatality, which in some cases implicitly blamed the cyclist because he wasn’t wearing a helmet and because the bicycle lacked lights.
First, while our organization encourages cyclists to wear helmets, it is important to point out that whether a cyclist is wearing a helmet in no way lessens motorists’ responsibility to drive safely.
As for proper lighting, we strongly encourage cyclists to equip their bicycles with the legally required front and rear lights and reflectors.
As to whether the cyclist had in fact exceeded the legal alcohol limit, our organization will await the final police or coroner’s report.
Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition