The first day of school for elementary, middle and high school students has arrived and I am fearful that not enough information about the new bike lanes has reached the citizens of Red Deer.
Do motorists and cyclists know the bylaws around bike lanes? I have personally witnessed both groups making unsafe decisions since the inception of the bike lanes at 39th Street and 40th Avenue, so it is important that everyone equally understand and respect the rules; especially before school starts.
The rules are not as simple as a solid line and a dotted line so go to the City of Red Deer website and type in Bike Lane Questions. This will answer some questions and perhaps in the future there will be a more inclusive list. There is also a survey on the website that you could/should contribute to (although it does appear the survey was developed for cyclists as there are 16 questions for cyclists and three for motorists).
But I digress — back to the first day of school and where that leaves us. Certainly not the Utopia that John Johnston envisions where kids don’t drop out of high school because they can now ride their bikes to school; rather it leaves us with the possibility of an ‘unacceptable condition occurring.’ That is the comment from the engineer with the City of Red Deer back in early July when I asked about the dangers the bike lanes could/would potentially cause on 39th Street and 40th Avenue with three schools in direct proximity (at that time, I was unaware that the bike lanes were being extended all the way to Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School).
The direct quote was this: “The city may modify the roadway design during the pilot if an unacceptable condition occurs.”
So this is a plea, not as a helicopter parent but as a mother: “Motorists, please take your time, learn the rules of bike lanes, don’t get frustrated, perhaps take another route but whatever you do, make sure that our children who are biking or driving to school the first week of September and thereafter don’t become an “unacceptable condition.”