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LETTER: Tension hits ‘boiling point’ with Oak Bay cyclists, walkers, drivers

More communication needed
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An Oak Bay bike lane on Henderson Road includes part-time parking. (Black Press Media file photo)

I am writing advocating the District of Oak Bay establish a safe multi-mode transportation network.

Oak Bay’s progress over the last 15 years is shameful. The lack of reaction to the boom of bikes and now e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards over the last five years is embarrassing. Routes and plans have been discussed but never acted on.

RELATED: Cyclists rally for safer infrastructure in Oak Bay

Lives are in danger every day and now tensions are rising as shown during the Tuesday (Oct. 10) critical mass ride where we had two separate “f*** yous” yelled at us! One by a pedestrian who asked what is going on as we rode by and when we all cheerily told him, his immediate reaction was to start swearing at us. Not long after, our “bike bus” had a driver decide to pass us on Oak Bay Avenue by driving into oncoming traffic at 60+ km/h and then weave back into our lane only to be stopped by a red light 50 metres after.

Our bike bus overtook him again at the light and he then again passed dangerously and illegally while yelling and swearing at our group of senior citizens, families and kids. The tension of our community is at a boiling point and will continue to grow unless council helps show that bikes warrant inclusion in a plan. Drivers are so overreactive when we try to share existing infrastructure and this will lead to cyclists being injured or killed.

RELATED: Cyclists flood Oak Bay streets to protest part-time bike lane

Cyclists have equal legal rights on the roads yet 90 per cent of drivers don’t realize that and act overly aggressive. What is needed is protected All Ages & Abilities (AAA) transportation infrastructure accessible within 500m of all Oak Bay residences. We can’t wait for some long-term plan that has been swirling in council chambers for more than a decade.

Families recreating, kids riding to school, Oceanside touring, university community, cargo e-bikes for shopping, seniors extending their years of riding on e-bikes and trikes and people simply enjoying a fit active lifestyle should be a priority for the Oak Bay council.

Mark “Skip” Taylor

Oak Bay