A bike ride through the city


Riding a bike throughout the city can be a dizzying maze if you don’t know your way

Sophie Long
News Writer

On Friday, September 7, the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) on campus will be hosting a Cycling Celebration as part of their Dis-Orientation Welcome Week activities. The event hopes to open up the conversation on cycling accessibility in Regina, encouraging it as a viable method of transportation – both for protecting the environment and promoting physical activity.

However, with Regina’s small roads, limited bike paths and unstable climate, this can be a struggle for some.

These are all factors that David MacNeil, a university student and member of the Wascana Freewheelers cycling club, has had to deal with. He cycles no matter what the weather, both competitively and recreationally. One of the biggest issues for MacNeil is the accessibility for cyclists throughout the city.

“Some roads are better than others, and some are best avoided altogether, if possible,” he said.  “My biggest complaint would be roads that have no shoulder at all, and unfortunately the city keeps on building them.  After a while you start to find the best routes and little shortcuts.”

Although the city has constructed a few bicycle paths around the city, the biggest problem seems to be the lack of these pathways on some streets. Many of the smaller streets in Regina don’t have bike lanes, and this becomes more of a struggle throughout the winter. Even if cyclists have prepared their bikes for the winter months, the streets are not always cleaned, providing little to no space for bikes to fit through. This is something that Sharla Cote, a Project Engineer at the City of Regina, is aware of.

“The climate definitely plays a role in terms of maintenance,” Cote said. “With the on-street routes, we are lucky in that the streets that there are bike lanes on are, for the most part, higher priority locations for snow maintenance. They tend to be category one and two for snow removal and maintenance, but we’re not quite there in terms of making cycling routes on high priority if they’re not on arterial roads.”

Cyclists in Regina have fewer options in the winter, and unfortunately the city has not been able to find a resolution to this problem.

Aside from limited space in the winter, cyclists like Jeremy Beaurivage, a third-year science student at the University of Regina, find the pathways quite accessible.

“Regina is a nice sized city with many bike paths and thus [biking] is almost as fast as driving for the most part,” he said. 

However, MacNeil disagrees. He finds the pathways hard to navigate.

“For people who ride quickly it is easier and more safe to stay on the road,” he said.  “The pathways have many turns with obstructed views and 90 degree blind corners.  People walking, jogging and with dogs can also do unexpected things, so I try to stay off the path.”

Despite its many benefits, cycling can be dangerous. One Regina resident, Kane Coneghan says he has been hit by a car four times cycling in Regina.

“Twice it was after being waved to cross, always at an intersection” he said.

“The campus has a master plan for the next five years with all these beautiful bike paths all around campus and I hope that’s happening." – Halena Seiferling

MacNeil has had problems with this too, saying “The few close calls I've had were the result of driver inattentiveness rather than malice. When riding, you need to keep a very close eye on drivers approaching from the right. Drivers almost universally roll stop signs when making right turns. This has resulted in me getting cut off many times and nearly sideswiped twice. Many drivers also do not stop behind the curb, so it is better to ride closer to the left side of the curb lane.”

MacNeil also explained that several cyclists in Regina use an interactive map to point out problem areas and places that are easier to cycle.

Although drivers aren’t always aware of cyclists, the city has not taken on the responsibility of educating drivers or cyclists.

“Currently the city does not take on that role. Some cycler organizations take on that education role,” Cote said. “Basically, what we offer are traffic bylaws and rules of the road. From time to time, if we implement a new bike way we’ll take the opportunity to say ‘Don’t forget, this is how you use this’, but we mostly leave it up to the community organizations.”   

While biking is not always safe or easy, many citizens and students in Regina choose to cycle. RPIRG’s Cycling Celebration aims to encourage cycling as an option for students by organizing free service demos and working with cycling groups.

“The campus has a master plan for the next five years with all these beautiful bike paths all around campus and I hope that’s happening,” said Halena Seiferling, events coordinator at RPIRG. “We need more bike lanes getting here too, but that’s another story.”

Unfortunately, Cote at the City of Regina has said that there won’t be any plans for additional development of bike lanes or multi-use pathways in the next few years.

“In the near future we’re holding off,” Cote said. “In 2013, you won’t see anything for on street routes or multi-use pathways, except for maybe multi-use pathways in new neighbourhoods implemented by the developer.”

However, if the discussion on cycling is opened up among students in Regina, there might be some changes to the pathways and safety education. Cyclists at the University of Regina can get more information and share ideas at RPIRG’s Cycling Celebration outside the Riddell Center this Friday.

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