It’s about getting cars off the road and bicycles out of the garage.
Go By Bike Week is set to run from May 30 to June 5, with cyclists of all skills and speeds encouraged to check out the view from the handlebars. There seems to be a “pent-up demand” for more cycling infrastructure according to Colin Fowler, a chair with cycling advocacy group Tri-Cities HUB.
“I’ve never seen so many people on their bikes and the beauty of it is, it’s not just your stereotypical mammal – your middle-aged male in Lycra – there seems to be a lot more families out,” he said.
There are approximately 100 kilometres of bike routes in the City of Coquitlam, according to a release from the city. However, there are still some gaps that need to be addressed, according to Fowler, describing frequent complaints about the “three worst” routes in the Tri-Cities.
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Many cyclists feel unsafe navigating United Boulevard between the King Edward overpass and Fawcett Road, Fowler noted.
The City of Coquitlam has made some great strides in providing well-marketed, well-lit bike paths, but the route from the Port Mann Bridge to Coquitlam Centre is dificult, according to Fowler.
“Going from the səmiq̓wəʔelə land [pronounced suh-Mee-kwuh-El-uh] down to the Port Mann Bridge appears to be a challenge,” he said.
Coquitlam encourages cyclists to take the recently completed Lougheed Greenway from Coquitlam Central Station to səmiq̓wəʔelə (formerly known as the Riverview lands).
Fowler also voiced concern about the Mary Hill Bypass between the Port Mann Bridge and the Shaughnessy Street and Argue Street intersection.
“This is a corridor that has 70/km/h traffic with no protection other than a line of paint.”
But while gaps in the cycling network persist, Fowler said he’s pleased to see Coquitlam advance an electric mobility strategy, particularly given how “topographically challenging” the Tri-Cities can be.
The surge in cycling also underscores the need for more bike parking, particularly around rec centres and popular destinations like Rocky Point Park, according to Fowler.
Fowler said he’s seen bike parking around the Port Coquitlam Community Centre approach capacity.
“Which is an excellent problem to have, but I think it speaks more clearly to the fact that we have undervalued bike parking and bike infrastructure.”
Fowler encouraged cyclists and would-be cyclists to use Go By Bike Week as a way to get back on two wheels.
“You’re going to see a lot more bike infrastructure than there was a few years ago,” he said. “As we continue to build more and more, you’re going to see less fragment and more complete routes.”
HUB is slated to provide events throughout the week offering maps, snacks, a bit of maintenance and prizes.
Cyclists are invited to gather at Blue Mountain Park from 4 to 6 p.m. on May 31 and by the frog sculpture at the Lafarge-Lake Douglas SkyTrain Station from 4 to 6 p.m. on June 1. More information here.