On Friday, riders in Prince Edward Island marked International Bike to Work Day. More than just an opportunity to promote cycling as a way of commuting to work, the day—no matter when it’s celebrated, and cities across the United States and Canada often do so on different dates—is also a chance to take stock, reflecting on the progress made and the obstacles yet to be overcome in making bike commuting a viable option for everybody.
The CBC reported that the cycling community of Prince Edward Island did both. Progress in improving cycling infrastructure across the province has been made, said Cycling PEI, the Atlantic province’s principal bike advocacy group, but there’s a lot of vital work yet to be done.
Speaking with the CBC, Cycling PEI executive director Mark Connolly said that the province—and particularly the city of Charlottetown—has made noticeable, welcome improvements. Resources, however, are lacking in order to bring cycling safety province-wide up to acceptable standards. “We’re almost all connected,” Connolly said, noting steps already taken in Charlottetown to connect key cycling routes, “but it really takes about 10 years before it really comes together.” On the provincial level, he said, the widening of shoulders in areas heavy with tourism have made the situation for riders remarkably better—but there are many other areas, no less busy, that still need the same treatment.
The Hillsborough Bridge in Charlottetown, specifically, is the one location in the Prince Edward Island city that is the subject of the most complaints, Connolly said. And until a new bike lane is built along the bridge, along with a pedestrian walkway—two features that a recent engineering study revealed could be supported, but which have yet to be pursued by the city—those complaints aren’t likely to let up any time soon.
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In related news, advocates lauded a history-making moment earlier this week when “Ellen’s Law,” mandating a metre’s clearance for cyclists when passed by cars and named in honour of Ellen Watters, was passed by PEI’s provincial government, becoming the law of the land.