Oceanside Cycling Coalition wants French Creek bridge sidewalks widened

Narrow, wooden sidewalk called a hazard to cyclists

The cycling lane on the French Creek bridge is considered a hazard by some.

The cycling lane on the French Creek bridge is considered a hazard by some.

When cyclists tour along Highway 19A in Oceanside, they enjoy the view, the weather and the ambiance, but one thing they don’t look forward to, says Cycling Coalition spokesperson Jim Swanson, is crossing the French Creek bridge.

That’s because, he said, the wooden pedestrian and cycling crossings on the outside of the bridge are too narrow and, when it’s wet, slippery.

“The narrowness of the sidewalk is a real concern,” he said. “Some people with the wide handlebars on their bikes can’t negotiate across it.”

Swanson speaks about the bridge from personal experience.

I almost ended up going into the creek one fall day when I hit a wet spot and my bike flew up onto the railing,” he said. “It’s amazing the number of cyclists I speak to that have had an incident on that bridge. It’s not isolated to just a few.”

Besides the narrow wooden bike crossings, Swanson said the approaches to the bridge are also problematic.

“Coming from both ends of the bridge, the concrete barriers are not well marked,” he said. “At one time they had fleurescent paint on them but it has all faded. I have heard of several people who have hit the barriers, which is not a good experience.”

Swanson said his group would like to see the sidewalks widened by at least two feet and resurfaced. He pointed to the Englishman River bridge as an example.

“People don’t mind crossing the Englishman bridge,” he said. “It’s wide enough, a decent width to cycle across.”

In an attempt to improve the situation, the coalition, he said, is collecting information on its website from cyclists who have experiences with the bridge.

The comments, he said, will be used to aid the group’s lobbying efforts.

Comments can be left at www.oceansidecyclingcoalition.ca.