Cyclists now have options on French Creek bridge

Currents sidewalks considered too narrow and dangerous

BRIDGE OPTIONS: Cyclist Gord Byers navigates his way across the French Creek bridge. A spokesperson for a local cycling association says the sidewalks are narrow and dangerous. Signs will be going up on the bridge this month to warn vehicle drivers that cyclists now have the option to use the bridge instead of the sidewalks. Please see story page A5.

Cyclists are hoping drivers on Highway 19A will take note when new signs appear at the French Creek bridge.

Those signs, emblazoned with the message: Share the Road — Narrow Bridge, are slated to be installed this month in place of the current signs  requiring all cyclists to dismount and use the sidewalks.

This way, said Oceanside Cycling Coalition spokesperson Jim Swanson, cyclists who want to use the sidewalk can continue to do so, while those who feel safer staying on the road will be able to legally do so — with the comfort that drivers are warned of the narrow bridge and possibility of encountering cyclists.

Swanson said the sidewalks on the bridge are narrow and dangerous and many cyclists have been injured while trying to use the sidewalks to cross the bridge.

The action comes after the coalition met with representatives of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in August to discuss the results of a survey they sent out to cyclists in the area, who overwhelmingly cited the bridge as one of the top hazards to cyclists due to the narrow sidewalks.

At the meeting, engineers from Vancouver Island district offices of the ministry agreed to conduct an engineering report on widening the existing sidewalks and look at changing the signs on the approaches.

Swanson said he hopes drivers will heed the new signs when they are in place.

“The Oceanside Cycling Coalition wishes to thank all of those alert and considerate motorists on our roads who recognize that mixing cars, trucks, bicycles and pedestrians is a challenge for all of us,” he said. “We are hoping that cyclists and motorists will all follow the rules of the road as they safely cross the French Creek Bridge.”

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