Rules of the Road response

Response to: “Rules of the Road, Bike Lane and Sidewalk?” (May 29) from Jacquie Jones

There are many types of infrastructure for cyclists, pedestrians and other individuals using alternative forms of transportation.  Sidewalks, bike lanes and multi-use pathways are the most common types.  In fact, the City of Kelowna has the largest network of cycling routes for a City of it’s size.

Sidewalks are typically about 1.5 metres wide but can range up to 3 metres, depending on location.  The main users of sidewalks are pedestrians, including wheelchairs users.  All types of strollers and wheelchairs, including motorized wheelchairs and mobility aids are permitted on sidewalks.  Cyclists, rollerblades and skateboards are not permitted on sidewalks.  The one exception to this rule is children riding direct drive bicycles, such as tricycles.

Multi-use pathways are typically 3.5 metres wide or greater, and are in many cases smooth paved surfaces.  Some examples are Rails with Trails, Gordon Drive (between Casorso and the H20), and  Highway 33 (between Muir and Gallagher). These facilities are designed for multiple user types including all of the same users of sidewalks, plus all types of cyclists and in-line skaters.  Pathway users are required to stay to the right-hand side of the pathway, unless directed otherwise. If there is a pathway and a sidewalk, sidewalk users are required to use it, not the pathway - the pathway is reserved for cyclists and in-line skaters.

Bike Lanes are paved on-street lanes alongside vehicle traffic – there are more than 290 kilometres of bike lanes in Kelowna.  Under the City’s bylaw, cyclists, including in-line skates are permitted in bike lanes but must obey the rules of the road, the same rules that apply to drivers of motorized vehicles. Bike lanes may also be used by those with power assisted mobility aids only in areas where there are no sidewalks. 

Please note skateboards are currently a grey area of the bylaw, the use of skateboards and long boards on multi-use pathways and bike lanes is currently under review. 

It is important for cyclists, pedestrians and other pathway users to understand the rules and always be predictable.  The City of Kelowna has created a video on safety and rules for pathway use.  It’s also important for vehicle drivers to be aware of cyclists, and a video is also available for drivers.  The City of Kelowna and cycling coalition offer cycling courses to help build confidence on the road, as well as training on rules of the road and safe handling.  For more tips on getting around the Central Okanagan without the use of vehicle, as well as activities and courses, check outsmartTRIPS.ca.

Mike Kittmer, Active Transportation Coordinator
Regional Services Dept.

Editor: Yes it's over 250 words - but it's good info.

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