Bikeways.

Oakville cyclists call for more consistent, more connected, less confusing cycle lane

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David Moore and his son Tyson — seen here in the cycling lane on northbound Postmaster, that abruptly ends at Pine Glen Road — are displeased with the town’s current cycling infrastructure.

David Moore and his son Tyson share a love of cycling, and a painful experience from it.

On separate occasions they were injured while riding, with David more severely hurt.

While riding together on Dundas Street West toward Sixth Line, the elder Moore was struck by a black SUV that was making a right turn.

“I was dazed. I was cut up. My hand was bleeding quite profusely,” recalled David. “I ended up with five pins in my hand. I can’t use my hand properly.”

Fortunately, Tyson escaped serious injury when he was hit by a red Scion, but his bicycle required $700 in repairs.

Both have become passionately outspoken about the need for safe, consistent and connected cycling infrastructure.

Oakville can boast 240 kilometres worth of cycling lanes. As part of the growth of the cycling network, the Town of Oakville is poised to add another 30 kilometres this year. The Active Transportation Master Plan divides the phases of development into short-term (zero to 10 years) and long-term (11 to 20 years).

The short-term phase of development began in 2018, and it hopes to complete that stage of development by 2028.

The Town of Oakville does say that they are working toward an “uninterrupted cycling network.”

“The ultimate vision of the Active Transportation Master Plan is to have a pedestrian and cycle-supportive community that encourages active transportation for both utilitarian and recreational travel through complete streets,” said spokesperson Jill MacInnes.

However, according to Tyson, “there isn’t a network.”

“Can you imagine if there was just no road between (Bronte Road at QEW) and Wyecroft? That would be unacceptable,” Tyson said, comparing bike lanes to roads.

The Ontario Traffic Manual lists 10 types of infrastructure that allow bicycles. Physically separate cycling lanes, conventional bicycle lanes, buffered bicycle lanes, contraflow bicycle lanes, advisory bicycle lanes, neighbourhood bikeways and paved shoulders are just a few of them.

Janet Astwood, who has often ridden north to Bronte Provincial Park on her bike, finds much confusion in the variances between cycling facilities. “I don’t know the road, I don’t know the rules and most of these. So I’m just looking at it, saying, ‘OK, I know there’s another rule, and what do we do?’” she said.

“It’s not safe. The bicycle path goes and stops and ends … things like that just make your trip so much more frustrating that you’re going to stop doing it so.”

“That has to do with an incremental retrofit,” said Paul Hess, who specializes in planning for active transportation.

“That’s really only something that started to be implemented in the last few years, and years ago we didn’t have any of them,” Hess added. “When a cyclist goes from a piece of high-quality infrastructure that feels safe and where they are being accommodated specifically … and then they go to a sharrow … yeah, that is a significant change for the cyclist and they are suddenly in traffic.”

Oakville resident Mark Verlinden looks overseas for inspiration for what he would like to see in his hometown. He often travels abroad for the express purpose of cycling and, as a result, has been spoiled by what is available in other countries like the Netherlands.

“The train station in Rotterdam has thousands of underground supervised parking spots for bikes,” he said. “All the transit stations have bike fix-it shops.”

“It is thoughtfully designed to encourage cycling as transportation and to provide for the maximum throughput of everybody. It is designed to minimize the fact if somebody does something stupid or make a mistake, you are less likely to get injured.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With the Town of Oakville in the process of addressing its cycling infrastructure, we spoke with local cyclists to find out what they think is needed to make the town more bike-friendly.

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