Cyclists Concerned 0
The executive and membership of the Kawartha Cycling Club are increasingly concerned over the gradual deterioration of paved roads around the city. It is to the point that in 2009 many of our traditional cycling routes are no longer useable, being too rough for enjoyable or even safe riding.
Both asphalt and chip-and-tar surfaces around the city have suffered from water infiltration and frost damage that has literally torn up surfaces, left potholes, extended cracks and very unstable road edges.
On major area routes, such as County Road 8 between Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon, the asphalt at the road edge -where cyclists spend most of their time -has separated and migrated towards the ditch, leaving broken and loose paving, potholes, and extended cracks parallel to the shoulder. This makes cycling difficult and sometimes dangerous.
Factor in the increased likelihood of the effectively-narrowed road and broken surface sending a cyclist into the path of passing cars and trucks and you have a life threatening situation.
Not being able to comfortably or safely use Road 8 cuts off bicycle access to Fairbairn Road, Cedar Tree Road, Sturgeon Point Road. Further north, maintenance of Bury's Green Road has been ignored to the point that even vehicles avoid it. South of Lindsay, consider the state of Halter, Hillhead, River, St. Mary's and Lifford roads. The list could cover the city.
There are obvious implications to this breakdown in maintenance. For cyclists, both local and tourists, it means a loss of recreational and health-supporting opportunities. For the community, it means commercial loss and additional health care costs. In addition, the demonstrably increased risk of personal injury (if not loss of life) for cyclists -both from falls and contact with vehicles -points directly to significantly increased liability exposure for the city.
At the same time, the club recognizes that the city faces financial constraints precluding an immediate massive road restoration and upgrading program. However, this does not mean the city cannot (perhaps with infrastructure assistance from other levels of government) embark on a much more systematic repair, resurfacing and upgrading program giving particular attention to wider, paved shoulders.
This would, over a span of years, make our roads much more attractive and safer for all, locals and visitors alike, whether driving (car, truck, tractor, horse-drawn buggy, snow plough, emergency vehicle) or cycling.
The club would welcome an opportunity to play a constructive role in bringing this about, not through studies and surveys of the obvious but by helping establish a priority list of roads and specifications which can direct corrective action over the long term and give more value for the tax dollar than a patchwork approach.
MIKE GORMAN president, Kawartha Cycling Club