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Sudbury man launches petition to have bike lanes cleared in winter

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A Greater Sudbury man wants the city to clear bike lanes and pathways during winter following inclement weather.

Andrew Way said he needs his bicycle to get around during all seasons of the year.

He has been an epileptic for 27 years and at times has lost his drivers’ licence. He uses his bike to get around everywhere.

Way started a petition calling on Greater Sudbury to keep bicycle lanes open during the winter months. He wants to see them get similar priority as roads after a snowfall.

“The bike lanes where there’s a road, I don’t see how that’s a hassle. It’s three extra feet for the road plow instead of a snow bank,” he said.

Way said the city already has maintenance standards for bike lanes, it just chooses to close them seasonally.

“I remember exactly no one from the city asking ‘hey, do you want to bike in the winter?’” he said.

“Instead they just closed it.”

Way said not clearing ice and snow from bike lanes creates a dangerous environment for those who must use them during all seasons.

“Say you’re on the road and you hit a patch of ice and you got a three-tonne truck behind you, coming at you,” he said.

A Greater Sudbury man wants the city to clear bike lanes and pathways during winter following inclement weather. Andrew Way said he needs his bicycle to get around during all seasons of the year. (Angela Gemmill/CTV News)

“They’re not going to stop if you go down. It’s pretty dangerous -- even if you’re walking to go across the street.”

Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent said the city encourages active transportation, but the challenge lies with the cost. He’s not sure they could fit additional snow removal costs for clearing bike lanes at this time.

But the issue is on his radar.

“As we continue to add bike lanes and pathways through the city, I think in the future we’d like to get on top of our operating budget and be able to include this into our snow removal plans,” Parent said.

Parent points out that the city has 3,600 kilometres of roads that need to be cleared each time it snows.

Way said he’ll continue to cycle to places like the grocery store, but he is hopeful his petition will show the city that people do cycle in the winter, even when there is snow and ice piled where the bike lanes should be.

The petition has not yet been presented to city council.

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