Re: Mike Welsby’s letter stating that bike lanes on Government Street are not needed:
I am a cyclist who rides on Government Street regularly from my home off Gibbins Road to get downtown. I am delighted with the new infrastructure of lanes, signs and stencils. I feel as if my right to be on the road is now recognized and accommodated safely. These changes will encourage other less experienced riders to get out of their cars and onto their bikes. Drivers are now made aware that cyclists are allowed to share the road, and even take the full lane where it is too narrow for both.
Two aspects of these changes merit special mention. The first is the new wide lane going up the steep part of Government hill. Bicycles are going slowly up this stretch, and because of that they tend to weave more than usual. Before the changes I have had some close calls at the pinch points beside traffic islands. Now I have plenty of room, and the vehicle traffic flows as smoothly as before.
The second is the addition of signs at the Gibbins roundabout indicating that bikes and cars go into the roundabout single file, taking the lane. This makes a huge difference for cyclists turning left to go up the hill past the hospital as it prevents them being cut off by drivers going straight through on Cowichan Lake Road. My wife was cut off like that by a pickup which went up on to the inside curb to get past her, almost hitting her.
I would like to point out that, contrary to popular belief, these roads are paid for by property taxes, not gasoline tax, so bicycle riders are paying their share of the cost, while taking up much less space with no pollution. I am happy to see some of my tax money going to infrastructure that has a direct benefit to cyclists for a change.
I commend Duncan and North Cowichan for the effort and money they are putting in to make cycling safer, thus encouraging alternatives to cars, and benefiting the planet.