Sharing the road

Mike Kozlowski is a year-round cyclist who gets around the city on two wheels come rain, snow, or shine.

Denell Meier rides along the Riverside Drive pathway carrying her cockapoo Maddie Porscha Tuesday. The Red Deer County resident came into the city to ride the pathways and better train the seven-month-old

Denell Meier rides along the Riverside Drive pathway carrying her cockapoo Maddie Porscha Tuesday. The Red Deer County resident came into the city to ride the pathways and better train the seven-month-old

Mike Kozlowski is a year-round cyclist who gets around the city on two wheels come rain, snow, or shine.

Yet occasionally Red Deer motorists shout at him to get off the road — the only place where he’s legally allowed to ride, besides park trails.

Kozlowski said it doesn’t upset him so much as make him more determined to get bike lanes established in Red Deer.

“Cycling is a real form of transportation and deserves to be treated like other forms of transportation,” said Kozlowski, who notes cyclists who follow rules are supposed to be riding on local roads and not sidewalks.

The trouble is local motorists are unused to sharing the roads with them.

Kozlowski believes having separate bike lanes would diffuse tension, foster safety and create more of a bicycle culture in the city.

Fellow cyclist John Johnston agrees, and is pleased city council has agreed to look at establishing bike lanes in the spring.

To keep the momentum going, the two men, under their group Better Bicycle Commuting, are organizing a bike parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 in hopes of showing city council there’s broad support for the idea.

Interested cyclists will meet in the parking lot of Notre Dame High School, ride north on 30th Avenue, go west on 32nd Street, then end up at city hall via Spruce Drive.

“We’d like to say to city council there’s not just one group here, but that several are interested” — such as Rethink Red Deer, safe community and school groups, said Johnston, who would like to see even more participants than the 20 cyclists who turned out for last year’s parade.

Kozlowski said it would be great to get different kinds of bicycles in the parade, as well as cyclists wearing their bright orange safety vests or other eye-catching costumes.

Cities such as Boulder, Colorado are about the same size as Red Deer and have benefited from having bike lanes, added Johnston, a retired school vice-principal, who believes more people would be cycling around the city if they felt safer about being on the roads.

In Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary have some bike lanes, but Kozlowski and Johnston believes this province generally lags behind Europe, the U.S. and other Canadian cities, such as Montreal.

Kozlowski would like to get city council candidates talking about bike lanes during the fall municipal election.

For more information please email Kozlowski at justkoz@gmail.com.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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