Saskatoon reviews changes to the bicycle bylaw
SASKATOON -- Pending city council approval, cyclists riding through downtown may no longer be restricted to the dedicated bike lanes.
On Monday the city's transportation committee reviewed recommendations from the city's administration to remove the requirement for cyclists to use the dedicated lanes installed on Fourth Avenue and 23rd Street.
The city's argument is that other Canadian cities with dedicated bike lanes are also heading in this direction. Only Kelowna, B.C., still requires that cyclists use dedicated bike lanes.
Administration consulted 14 groups including the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the various business improvement districts and Saskatoon Cycles. The SHA and Saskatoon Cycles recommended removing the requirement to use bike lanes.
The change would make it easier for cyclists to make left-hand turns in intersections and cyclists wouldn't be trapped in the bike lane in the event a car or snow is blocking the path, the city report says.
Saskatoon school boards, who were also part of the consultation, recommended changing the bylaw to allow cyclists under the age of 14 to ride on the sidewalk. This recommendation was also voted on and sent to city council by the committee.
Coun. Bev Dubois said the city needs to do a better job with the cycling network downtown. Last year, Dubois put forward a motion to remove the dedicated bike lanes on Fourth Avenue downtown.
"It seems to be an issue that's controversial and there's been things that have been done that haven't worked.”
The ideas still need the approval of the full City Council.
Coun. Randy Donauer approved the recommendation but said he doesn’t know how he’ll vote later this month.
If the idea behind bake lanes is safety, he questions why the city wouldn’t ask cyclists to use them, he said.