EDITORIAL: Port Alberni’s wide streets ripe for bike lanes

We’re glad city council’s cold feet didn’t kill the project at this crucial juncture. And we’re not the only ones.

The City of Port Alberni has started painting bike lanes on major routes around the community after budgeting $50,000 and receiving a matching grant. Stopping now could put that grant, as well as any future bike-related ones, in danger.

So we’re glad council’s cold feet didn’t kill the project at this crucial juncture. And we’re not the only ones.

According to the owners of an electric bicycle company in Qualicum Beach, the No. 1 request they receive is where families can bike in a safe environment.

Other communities are taking notice: Nanaimo apparently has a bike map that they can’t print fast enough. The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is doing the same thing.

The Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley raised money last year for a public bike rack program that they intend to implement this year. This will meld with the city’s own active transportation program for which they’ve invested time and money.

Cycling as a tourist activity is gaining in popularity, as it cycling as a commuter option. As the electric bike company owners say, to be left off the safe biking route ‘is a mistake for any Island community growing tourism and effective transit.’

People who don’t ride their bikes around Port Alberni regularly say the city’s wide roads were already enough without the lanes. However, the lanes are a visual reminder to drivers and cyclists alike where exactly each is supposed to be.

As cyclist Bill Brown said during a presentation at city council on Monday night, “A bike lane to a bike rider is like a crosswalk to a pedestrian.”

If anything, the city should implement a safety campaign for both riders and drivers on proper use of the bike lanes.

The job has been started. Let’s not leave it half finished.

— ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS