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Letter: Cycling myths are outdated

The biggest deterrent to more people cycling is the lack of safe routes to ride. ~ Peter Ladner

As someone with family in Powell River and who has cycled to, through and around Powell River, I was disappointed to read your recent editorial essentially saying cycling lanes can wait as Powell River heads toward a $2 million paving program [“Editorial: Paving plan for Powell River,” July 30].

I am puzzled about how foregoing improved road safety for vulnerable road users in this major paving project aligns with the city’s Sustainable Official Community Plan: “Complete Streets approach is recommended to be applied to all road construction and reconstruction projects, to gradually transition Powell River’s road network to a truly multi-modal system. [Bylaw 2370, 2013 Schedule A: City of Powell River Sustainable OCP].”

Mostly I was frustrated at the repetition of outdated myths about cycling being impractical, only for sunny days, only for fit people who like getting sweaty, and not suitable for grocery shopping.

None of that is true, especially with the recent surge of e-bikes that can level hills and carry children, shopping bags and tools. Parents, families, shoppers, students and workers cycle year-round in northern cities like Copenhagen because it is cheap, efficient and safe. It’s also fun, healthy, nonpolluting and dramatically reduces per-trip GHG emissions.

I suspect Powell River missed its target of increasing cyclist transportation share to six per cent of all trips by 2020. The biggest deterrent to more people cycling is the lack of safe routes to ride.

That target will never be reached if cycling infrastructure isn’t built. That means separated cycle lanes. The time to build them is now.

Peter Ladner, chair
BC Cycling Coalition