Letter: 2021 should be the Year of the Cyclist in Kamloops

Editor:

It was unfortunate that Kamloops council decided not to make 2021 the Year of the Cyclist.

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It was an opportunity to raise the profile of one form of active transportation and make Kamloops a more livable city.

The city is currently lagging in cycling infrastructure as compared to most cities in North America.

The lack of cycling infrastructure is plainly evident if one does a Google Map search for a bike route across the city from east to west. The recommended route includes one non-existing path and use of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway, where cycling is prohibited.

Having noted that, the newly proposed connections on Summit Drive and sixth Avenue are a step in the right direction — and kudos to the city for recognizing the AAA (all ages and abilities standard).

However, we need to consider other regions of the city, such as the North Shore, and the potential for a major cycling hub at TRU.

In addition, the city needs to consider active transportation more broadly.

For example, advances in micromobility devices (e.g., eKickScooters) have far outpaced regulation, but can fill an important gap in active transportation options.

Since the city passed a restrictive bylaw (23-63) on micromobility use, huge advances have been made.

They now include brakes and have batteries with enough stored energy to carry a user from Westsyde to Aberdeen.

They are designed for sidewalk use (no new infrastructure) and could be attractive to those who fear riding a bike on our roadways. The province has previously asked cities to create pilot projects to broadly permit and regulate their use as they recognize the integration of micromobility devices is coming.

Kamloops should engage with the Province to initiate such a project.

Finally, the city should invite input on updating its sidewalk snow removal policy PRS-13. The current standards are weak on maintaining reasonable sidewalk use.

As just one example, it can mean some municipally plowed sidewalks, even on bus routes, are left deep in snow for days after a snowfall as they are not listed as primary or secondary priorities.

Rob Higgins

vice-president

Kamloops Association for Low-Carbon Transportation

kalcat.org

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