If you ask a cyclist in Oceanside where their fear factor jumps highest in their throats, chances are they’ll point to the French Creek bridge.
That’s one of the conclusions brought forth in a recent survey done by the Oceanside Cycling Coalition.
Organizer Jim Swanson said the survey asked cyclists from around Oceanside to pinpoint the cycling trouble spots and preferred routes through the area.
“We were trying to determine a baseline of what cyclists feel about the cycling opportunities around here,” Swanson said. “We had 62 respondents and we asked how they rate the overall quality of the streets and roads in the local area, with six out of 10 of them rating it between poor to fair.”
He said the lack of well-marked bike lanes, careless drivers and, most importantly, the lack of bike lanes on bridges — particularly the French Creek bridge — were cited as major concerns.
“We tried to focus on the cycling lanes,” Swanson said. “When we asked if they are comfortable cycling on major roads without bike lanes, 82 per cent said no, but if there were bike lanes, 98 per cent said yes.”
Along with the survey, he said cyclists were asked which bike route they were most concerned about and what they proposed to resolve that concern.
“We didn’t want people to say ‘I don’t like this or that,’” he said. “We wanted them to think through solutions.”
The two biggest concerns listed, he said, were the French Creek bridge and behind the Wembley mall.
“In Parksville, the biggest concern was the whole downtown area,” Swanson said. “They were concerned about riding along 19A safely.”
Swanson said the information garnered by the survey will be presented to Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo, once the municipal elections are over.
In the interim, Swanson said it’s not too late for other cyclists to add their input. They can do so by visiting the Oceanside Cycling Coalition website at www.oceansidecyclingcoalition.ca.