Chelsea, Quebec cyclist blame municipality for bad roads

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by admin on May 19, 2010

The Editor,

Attention: Alain Bourgeois, Stephane Dore and Bruce Devine: I am writing to you with regards to safe cycling in Chelsea, Quebec.
Chelsea is, as I am certain you all appreciate, a beautiful and very scenic area that draws hundreds of tourists each year, both by car and by bicycle. It is always a welcome sight to see the increasing number of cyclists on our roads – including Hwy 105. However, it is also a bit of a concern that our infrastructure may not be providing adults and children alike with a safe environment in which to cycle.
I am also an avid cyclist and now commute to work on a relatively regular basis. I do, however, find that the roads within Chelsea, particularly the 105, are quite hazardous in that not only are there no shoulders on large stretches of the roads, but parts of the roads are in such disrepair that it is almost impossible for cyclists to use the roads safely and enjoyably.

If we are, indeed, both a green and sustainable community as well as a safe one, then shouldn’t we be doing more about the state of these roads – or at the very least the shoulders? I would certainly not like to see a repeat of the recent tragedy that took place east of Montreal, in which three cyclists died after they were struck by a vehicle. The road did not have shoulders.

We, as a community, have much to gain through the increase in cycle tourism and should do our best to encourage it – and ensure that cyclists are able to use the roads safely.

As a course of action, I would suggest that all the main cycling roads in the Chelsea area, including the 105 and chemin de la Mine be repaved – or at least the shoulders be paved. I would also post signs, alerting drivers of the importance of sharing the roads with cyclists and that it is important that they give cyclists as much room when passing as they would a car. I would also like to emphasize the importance of chemin de la Mine as a main cycling route between Gatineau and Chelsea and that it is in exceptionally poor condition despite recent efforts to cold patch parts of the road. In fact, I believe that some of these repairs have made it even more dangerous as it has simply made some of the bumps bigger.

I look forward to your response and am happy to be a part of such a beautiful and vibrant community. We all have much to gain through investments in our roads – and to encouraging more sustainable and healthy modes of transport, such as cycling.

Guy Follen
Chelsea, Quebec