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Niagara Falls
Saturday, July 13, 2024
Letter: Safer cycling infrastructure needed in Niagara
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

As lawyers for injured cyclists and grieving families, we were devastated to learn that a cyclist was killed Saturday May 21 in Niagara. While details remain limited, this incident follows another cyclist killed two days earlier in Burlington.

Both collisions happened near highway overpasses.

Major highways that divide municipalities are treacherous for pedestrians and cyclists to traverse. A Kitchener cyclist recently referred to the highway through that municipality as the Berlin Wall.

We know safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users is lacking where this person was killed, at Stanley Avenue and the 405.

There are no separated bike lanes, despite it being located close to Queenston Heights Park, the Botanical Gardens, Niagara River trails, and several bike tour operators and bike rental companies.

On top of that, crossing over the 405 at this location is confusing. On one side is a painted white line with enough room for what could be a bike lane.

However, the other side of the road doesn’t have the same shoulder – in either case, paint is not safe infrastructure.

It is amazing safe infrastructure is not already a feature of this developed area. Perhaps that would have saved this cyclist’s life.

We know that the cost of building safe infrastructure is outweighed by the cost of death and injury that can result from its absence.

The weight of this preventable tragedy will burden his family for years to come. The cost of losing another person on our roads will certainly be high, not only for his loved ones but for the community he contributed to, his employer and the justice system.

Out of our Hamilton office we represent a Niagara-area cyclist seriously injured by a driver who failed to yield near to a popular winery. Our client spent months recovering in hospital in Niagara. We must act to prevent these tragedies.

Niagara boasts a hearty tourism industry that in many cases encourages cycling.

That encouragement must be accompanied by safe cycling routes and investments in infrastructure that keep vulnerable road users safe. Cycling is a boon to the region’s economy and it is incumbent on local governments to invest in safe cycling.

Dave Shellnutt
The Biking Lawyer LLP

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