Editorial — Cyclists, take care

Cycling is becoming more popular each year, but there are significant hazards on the roads.

Langley Township has proposed a long-term capital program focused on adding bike routes throughout the municipality.

The wisdom of adding specified bike routes which are separated from traffic was reinforced on Sunday, when two members of a Whistler bike club were struck and killed along a rural section of Highway 99 near Mount Currie. A vehicle drove right into them and another club member, who survived. One of the two occupants of the vehicle was also killed.

Here in Langley, the volume of traffic on busy roads can be a significant challenge for cyclists, even when there are wide shoulders or bike lanes. Several years ago, a cyclist was killed on 200 Street near 83 Avenue when a driver crashed his car into him. There have been other serious injuries over the years.

The deaths came at the conclusion of Bike to Work Week, a time each year when people are encouraged to take up cycling. There are many good reasons to do so. Cycling promotes better health, has minimal impact on the environment and can be a relaxed way to travel.

Many cyclists take the sport very seriously and do training rides almost every day. Many of them use Langley streets for that purpose, and they often travel in large groups.

Cyclists need to be wary of vehicle traffic. High-visibility gear, mirrors and a lack of distractions are all important tools for the cyclist.

Vehicle drivers need to exercise patience when encountering cyclists, who sometimes have no choice but to ride on the roadways. Motorists also need to put away distractions and pay attention to what’s going on in front of them.

The roads in Langley are numerous enough to accommodate cars, trucks and cyclists. At the same time, there are more separated bike and pedestrian paths built each year, and these are the safest alternatives for cyclists to use.

Let’s hope there is no repeat of this terrible tragedy in other communities.