A better plan for bikers

It’s a small start, but the City’s Commuter Bike Pilot Program is underway and promises to make things a whole lot better – and safer – for our local cyclists.

The plan has been in the works for a while now – advocates have long been building awareness about the greater safety and efficiency that bike paths provide to urban cyclists.

So it’s great to see it come to fruition, at least in part. Currently, there are a few spots around Red Deer with cycling lanes specifically defined at Riverside Dr. from 67 St. to Three Mile Bend access; Riverview Ave. from 60 St. to 65 St.; Kerrywood Dr. from Fir St. to Overland Place and Cronquist Dr. from 54 Ave. to Webster Dr.

This is a good start at spots that are popular with bikers, and it will indicate just how much of a need there is for this type of project in Red Deer. The City does have an extensive trail system which is very well used, but it’s sometimes just not ideal for pedestrians and bikers to share. Also, it’s not an efficient, speedy means for cyclists to simply get from one place to another in a direct fashion.

Meanwhile, the lanes that have been installed are painted on roadways using either solid or dashed white lines. They have a stencil painted in the lane of a bicycle with a diamond-shape below the bicycle.

Clearly visible, the lanes are also marked with roadway signage to indicate they are located on the route.

City officials say the locations for the lanes were chosen because they were quick wins for implementation this year and allow the City an opportunity to gather more information from motorists, commuter and recreational cyclists about a larger implementation next year.

It’s important for bikers to offer their feedback on the project at this time to help keep the momentum going as well. As mentioned, drivers should also feel free to offer their views as well.

Officials would also like to know what other routes bikers believe would be the most beneficial throughout Red Deer and how safety can be bolstered for both cyclists and motorists.

Ultimately, the key aspect in all of this is getting the word out about the bike lanes and the many benefits of opting to travel via bicycle as opposed to always jumping behind the wheel — it’s clearly a healthy alternative for both bikers and the environment and the City needs to find a way to encourage more residents to adopt this method of travel.

To fill out the survey and get more information on the program, visit www.reddeer.ca/bikelanes.