Cyclists on SE Manitoba highways – view of the regional director for Transportation

Good evening all

Just got back from LUD of Mitchell general meeting.  A discussion came about regarding people crossing PTH 52 from the south side to the north side.  Brent Wareham, the regional director of operations for Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation was asked to speak to the issue.  To be fair, Brent was in there because he lives in Mitchell, not as a government representative.  I know Brent but could not help but be very disappointed about what came next.  He side stepped the issue of safely getting people across the 52 and then specifically pointed out that cyclists (not just kids on bicycles) on busy highways were a major issue.  He added that the provincial government’s movement towards active transportation was making it worse.  He strongly recommended that cyclists ride against traffic in order to be safe and stated clearly that the local RCMP would ignore this violation of the traffic act.  He stated that he had seen the accident report and went on to imply that the recent death of a cyclist on the 12 would might have been avoided if the cyclist had not been riding with traffic, on the pavement.

A couple of us at the meeting pointed out that bicycles riding on the road are vehicles and that riding in the opposite direction would be more likely to cause an accident.  I understand he is trying to make highways safe and I might even agree that if there is a wide paved shoulder (like between Mitchell and Steinbach) his recommendation might have merit.  Otherwise I was left with the sense that the “victims” were being blamed.  I for one am going to contact the local RCMP and see if they really are onside with this.  We have such a long way to go before cyclists can be safe on Manitoba roads……

Glen

4 thoughts on “Cyclists on SE Manitoba highways – view of the regional director for Transportation

  1. Maybe Brent would take some comfort in knowing that regularly, when I ride PTH 52 west of Steinbach, I do end-up facing the traffic. This is due to people pulling out to pass (often breaking the speed limit) and then coming straight at me as I hug the shoulder, sometimes even forcing me onto the gravel. Yeah, that feels so safe. Nice to know that the Regional Director of Transportation is such an informed cycling safety advocate and clearly likes to base his comments on evidence and consultation with stakeholders like the local cycling enthusiasts.

  2. The mentality of these people is that we ride facing traffic so that when we see a car coming we can get off the road. As you said Glen, they really don’t believe we have a right to be on the road. In Germany it is the law that a motorist can not pass a cyclist until all oncoming traffic has passed and it is safe to do so. Motorists in MB don’t even see cyclists. Passing cyclists without giving the land is the norm. Even in hill billy Arkansas motorists in general had more respect for riders than Manitoba motorists. The fact is that MB is red necked when it comes to cycling. Hopefully our continued presence on the road and the growing number of road riders in the area will eventually change this.

  3. The statment that was made,….”the recent death of a cyclist on Hwy 12 would/might have been avoided if the cyclist had not been riding with traffic, on the pavement” confuses me. Some of us may have seen the photos of the accident scene on Steinbach On Line and on the Carillon news. Wasn’t the cyclist riding and killed on the merge lane connecting Hwy # 1 Eastbound to Hwy# 12 Southbound? That piece of the road is a One Way portion of the merge lane. Therefore he could not possibly ride on the left side of the merge lane AND be facing traffic. …….. Maybe he should have continued riding East, rode under the Hwy 12 bridge, rode up to the lane that connects Northbound Hwy 12 to Eastbound Hwy #1, then ride in the wrong direction back up the ramp and continued South on Hwy 12 on the left side of the Northbound lanes of Hwy 12, faceing traffic as recommended. Does that seem farfetched or am I missing something and just don’t get it? The aforemention statement does not hold water in my humble opinion. Maybe I am missing the point?

  4. Hi Glen, RJ, and others!

    I was wondering if you might be able to help me out??? I’m hoping to cycle through Manitoba (cross canada trip) via a southern route. Most folks seem to take routes that are above the TransCan but I was thinking of the 2, 23, or even 3 (although I doubt 3 is really doable???).

    We’re going to be on touring bikes with a fair bit of gear so we’re looking for a decent road to bike that’s also neat. Any ideas? If you do have some, if you could email me at eaddison@trentu.ca, that would be great. I was trying to find an email address for MIT but couldn’t find one on the site.

    With much thanks 🙂
    Emily from Ottawa

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