On July 20th, a group of about 30 dedicated island cyclists met our local MLA Adam Olsen in Fulford for a bike ride to Ganges to promote the Salish Sea bike trail on Salt Spring Island. As we all know, Salt Spring does not have safe bicycle paths along the majority of our roads and is not really considered a very safe cycling destination. However Salt Spring Island being a major tourist attraction could easily become a wonderful place to visit by bike or ebike if only our roads were safer.
Adam Olsen has been working on this vision along with various community groups as well as CRD and MoTI representatives and he gave a brief speech and took questions and answers once the rally arrived at Centennial Park. One of the main concerns expressed by many in attendance is how little has been done by previous administrations on this issue in spite of having been on the political agenda for decades and Adam announced that there are some promising developments. A study is currently underway by MoTI to assess the status of our roads, this study is supposed to be finished by the end of September and will be used in developing bike safe roads in the coming years.
This last spring Adam also gave his support to Island Pathways (Cycling Salt Spring) for the acquisition of a 50k Active Transportation federal grant aimed at promoting the development of a safe cycling infrastructure on the island. There are many reasons to believe that improved island cycling is just around the corner but as some rally participants mentioned, while island riders are thrilled about this, there has been many promises before and it is long overdue.
This event was a very good opportunity for members of various local organizations to meet. Salt Spring Solutions which has been very vocal and gathered an 1800 signature petition to finish the Salish Sea Trail a couple of years ago as well as helped along with Adam Olsen start the Salish Sea Trail Network Working Group that meets regularly to update and discuss some of the pressing issues with CRD and MoTI.
Transition Salt Spring with many active supporters has been helping to organize and promote cycling on the island, in the spring they hosted a meeting with minister of Highway Rob Flemming for everyone to attend and during this meeting minister Flemming announced the current study to improve cycling on our roads.
Cycling Salt Spring is a sub group of Island Pathways and is involved with many bicycling programs on the island, helmet for life and scoot bikes for kids in the schools, Gobybike weeks twice a year, advocacy for bike safety, speed reduction as well as promoting awareness for the need for a safe cycling infrastructure for a healthy community.
With all these wonderful people working together along with hard working and dedicated Adam Olsen, these long awaited road improvements for cyclists are becoming closer to becoming a reality. Everyone now has to make sure that it remains a priority, this is essential for anyone caring about Salt Spring's quality of life, please stay informed.
Photos courtesy of Bob Mackie, Bryan Young and Natasha Kong