Bicyclists want to share commuter routes

Cyclists tired of skirting danger on Red Deer roads are now banding together to press the municipality for bicycle lanes.

Avid cyclist John Johnstone would like to the see the City of Red Deer designate bicycle lanes on roadways in the city.

Cyclists tired of skirting danger on Red Deer roads are now banding together to press the municipality for bicycle lanes.

A group of bicyclists recently formed Better Bicycle Commuting with the goal of seeing marked lanes on city streets.

Spokesman John Johnston of Red Deer said people want to be able to commute safely by bicycle.

“Red Deer has wonderful recreational paths, but it’s not safe to commute from one place to the other,” said Johnston on Thursday.

The group has amassed about 30 members since a month ago, and Johnston expects that will grow. On Sept. 12, they plan to hold a group ride in the city.

Vancouver and Montreal are two examples where bicycle lanes are common, he added.

Red Deer cyclists can ride on wide paved paths, such as those found along 40th Avenue and 30th Avenue. But in other high-traffic areas, they must either use the street or narrow sidewalks, Johnston said.

The retired school teacher said he’d like to see bicycle lanes on Michener Hill near Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. There is a path on one stretch that winds around the school but never actually leads to the school.

The Michener Hill area isn’t safe for cyclists, Johnston said.

Other potential areas for bicycle lanes are Spruce Drive as well as Ross Street between 40th Avenue and 30th Avenue, he added.

“Bicycle lanes would be safer because it shows exactly where cyclists should go,” said Johnston. “Right now, they can go wherever they want to do and consequently you have drivers who are very upset with them.”

Johnston has ridden around the world, including in highly congested Hanoi, Vietnam and Venezuela.

“Drivers in Red Deer are as polite as anywhere in the world, but the streets aren’t safe without those bicycle lanes.”

For more information on joining, call Johnston at 403-396-3777 or via email at johnjohnston@xplornet.com

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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