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The present City of Fernie Streets and Traffic Bylaws that addresses cycling were passed and adopted on October 28th, 1985. It’s safe to say that cycling and traffic have changed considerably in recent years–cycling is now redefining our community both socially and economically. Has the city adequately addressed these changes and when will the community see Downtown cycling solutions?

This month the City of Fernie report stated, “After a number of complaints from residents were submitted to Bylaw Services, the team started an awareness campaign to educate people on the restrictions set out in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw no. 1400,” “Biking images have now been painted on 2nd Avenue sidewalks to alert residents and visitors that cycling is not permitted. This stretch is being focused on due to the high traffic nature of the area, and the concentration of complaints pertaining to the issue downtown,”

Here is the City of Fernie Streets and Traffic Bylaw No. 1400 document for review or download: Streets and Traffic Bylaw No. 1400 (Amendments 1- 5) – Consolidated Version

The public reacted on social media with a variety of comments, a majority implied that the City needs to update its policy to reflect the needs of it citizens. Defining and creating downtown bike lanes and allowing young children to roll on the sidewalks were two popular suggestions.

Here are a few communities that have cycling policies and bylaws that thatt appear to work in todays world:

Toronto City Council has adopted a staff report recommendation in 2014 that Toronto’s sidewalk cycling bylaw shall stipulate “no person age 14 and older may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk”. The fine for an adult who rides a bicycle on a sidewalk shall be $60. The intent of this bylaw is to allow young children to cycle on the sidewalk while they learn to ride.

In the municipal development plan from 1997, the city introduced a new concept of green bicycle routes, envisioned to be a coherent network of cycle routes that, to the extent possible, will be off-street routes through parks and other open green areas or, where this is not possible, to a limited extent along quiet streets with low traffic volumes. These routes are intended to be a supplement to the existing network centered around busy corridors with high volume vehicle traffic. In 2000 the city released a proposal for a network of 22 green bicycle routes with a total length of 110 kilometres (68 mi) at a total estimated cost of 500 million DKK.[28] As of 2012 around 40 km of network has been completed and the city is committed to completing the network in the coming years.[29] The city hopes that the recreational and enhanced safety qualities of this network will attract certain groups of the population that currently use cars on trips to and from work, especially those with a 5–10 km commute.[28]

In a 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan, they passed a plan that emphasizes the need for developing more bikeways and ranks cyclists second priority after pedestrians. Read more here.

In 2001 Copenhagen formulated its first bicycle strategy with the publishing of “Cycle policy 2002 – 2012” as a way to prioritize cycling in city planning, signal its importance to the city, and to coordinate initiatives for improvements of cycling conditions. The city also vowed to use bicycle accounts to follow up on the goals set forth the cycle policy. Among these goals were an increase in bike usage for transportation from 34% to 40%, a 50% decrease serious injuries or death, as well as targets for safety, comfort, and speed, measured in the surveys for the bicycle account.

The next development of the municipal bicycle policy came with the release of the “Cycle Track Priority Plan 2006-2016” which states the order in which almost 70 kilometres (43 mi) of new cycle tracks and cycle lanes will be established in the 10 years covered by plan. The expansion of the bicycle network are prioritized by a number of indicators: the number of cyclists, accidents, sense of safety, coherence in the network and coordination with other projects done by the city. In 2009 the estimated cost of implementing the plan amounted to DKK 400 million. Read a Best Practice: City-wide Bicycle Commuting Program report here.

The City of Fernie has demonstrated that they react to residents complaints. I suggest that we cyclists take action and communicate with the City regarding the inadequacy of the existing Fernie Cycling Bylaws. It’s time for the City to update policy that supports our quickly evolving cycling community. The BC Cycling Coalition can assist with the communication.

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