The representative for Transportation Choices Sunshine Coast (TraC) came to last week’s Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) transportation committee meeting armed with several complaints about road conditions and their impact on cyclists.
Martin Prestage, one of the group’s founding directors, told the committee that they want a guarantee there won’t be a repeat of this spring’s use of sand during road sealing. In a letter to the committee, TraC said the sand left on the roads, bike lanes and shoulders created “conditions [that] were hazardous to the point of injury.”
“What we are seeking,” Prestage said, “is the assurance that type of sealing work won’t happen again, especially at that time of year [just before Bike to Work Week].”
Prestage claimed that road conditions were to blame for a slight drop in Bike to Work Week participation, adding he was reluctant to encourage people to ride because of the poor state of the roads.
“The number of kilometres [ridden] were down this year, and I would say that was principally because of the [road] conditions of the week before. On my part, I wasn’t out there telling people to ride… I couldn’t go out to people and say, ‘Get out and ride our roads,’ because they were the worst I’ve seen the whole time I’ve lived on the Coast.”
Don Legault of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) said MOTI couldn’t guarantee crack sealing techniques involving sand would not be used in the future, but noted that several factors led to an unusually problematic job this time around, including a delay that meant the work, which was supposed to be done in October, didn’t get done until May.
Prestage revisited the issue of road conditions later in the meeting. He told the committee that TraC had received an email from one of the organizers of the Gibsons Grind Gran Fondo, a road cycling event that attracted more than 250 riders on June 24. Prestage read a quote from the event’s roadside mechanic: “Due to the roads being in particularly terrible shape this year, I had a lot more work than past years. Whereas last year I helped fix one flat, this year I fixed about 20.”
He also said one participant hit a hole in the road that destroyed a very expensive set of carbon fibre wheels.
“Those sorts of occurrences are happening more and more, so I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention,” Prestage said.