Kelowna has been flooded with bikes, e-scooters and more as the weather’s gotten warmer. The increase in traffic has raised concerns for cyclists travelling city streets.
Members of the Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition (KACC) say they have had a few near misses in the traffic.
“Anybody who’s part of traffic right now needs to make sure they’re doing everything they can, whether you’re in a car, whether you’re on a bicycle, whether you’re on foot. It pays to be aware,” said Landon Bradshaw, KACC president.
The City of Kelowna is trying to improve cycle safety.
“Through our share the path campaign, we’ve been encouraging people to look out for one another, stick to the right whether you’re walking or biking,” said transportation planner, Cameron Noonan.
After education, he says, the next step is to add new pathways to the city.
“We are working on establishing safe and connected routes away from traffic for our residents. Connecting our key destinations and our urban centres.”
E-scooters are also on the rise. Lime started offering its services in Kelowna in the spring of 2021. They have been working with the city to improve rider safety, including an anti-sidewalk riding policy, mandatory helmets and more.
“Oftentimes when incidents do happen, it’s new riders. What we try to do is give people an opportunity to learn to ride with the Lime team,” said Jacob Tugendrajch, communications lead for Lime. The company says they are in constant communication with the riders since a phone is needed to unlock the scooters.
“We can display messages right when the ride is starting and also during the ride. Just constantly improving rider behaviour through communication.”
Cyclists says they feel safer in downtown Kelowna with the closure of Bernard Avenue but they still have concerns about the busier streets.
“When a pedestrian or a cyclist makes a mistake, we die or we get hurt,” said Bradshaw.