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Road safety

Time to address highway safety for cyclists



I have had enough already with the lack of road lines on the Sea to Sky Highway in and around Whistler.

I have almost been hit and almost hit both cyclists and vehicles as visitors try and figure out where the heck they are supposed to be on a road with no lines in a place they don't know.

But perhaps a little more delay in the re-painting could work in our favour.

Let me explain.

There is no doubt that Whistler's bike park is the best in the world.

And the amazing system of trails, from beginner to expert, which wind their way through our mountains and valleys on the North Shore, in Squamish, Whistler and around Pemberton are nothing less than spectacular.

But there is a growing segment of the bike market that Whistler needs to capture now if it is to continue to grow tourism in this sector: road warriors.

The incredible success of the GranFondo last year has opened doors and eyes to this market in a way that no other event seems to have been able to do.

In the lead up to the ride the Sea to Sky Highway felt more like the Tour de France route than a road designed to carry vehicles.

For the most part everyone obeyed the rules and safety was maintained but I had a few hair-raising scares as I came across pelotons pedalling in the twilight at Porteau Cove - this was back when I was commuting almost daily to Vancouver for work.

Even more caution has to be taken when heading up to Pemberton as the highway shoulders, if there are any, are far less forgiving than the edges of the upgraded Sea to Sky highway.

With the future in mind Mayor Ken Melamed has sent a letter to the provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom, asking for action on the highway.

"This letter comes to you seeking assistance in enhancing the safety and improving the cycling experience on the provincially maintained roads north and south of Whistler to support dramatically increased bicycle traffic," it states.

"As you know, last year's GranFondo bike race was a huge success. The first of its kind in Canada, it provided a significant contribution to tourism for the region and British Columbia and the promotion of active lifestyles in B.C.

"In the lead up to the event last year we experienced a notable increase in the number of riders on our highways training for the event. This year the organizers will increase the race entrant numbers from 4,000 to more than 7,000. It is safe to assume that we can expect even higher numbers of riders on the roads this summer in the months and weeks leading up to the event, which takes place this year on September 10.