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Concerns raised about speeding e-bikes on Salmon Arm’s Foreshore Trail

Questions about issue to be forwarded to city’s Greenways Liaison Committee
Salmon Arm council considers concerns on Jan. 9, 2023 about e-bikes on Foreshore Trail. (File photo)

While e-bikes are a great boost in hilly Salmon Arm, some are causing consternation on the Foreshore Trail.

Jen Bellhouse, executive director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance, wrote to council on behalf of the wider Shuswap Regional Trails Roundtable, with news from the most recent roundtable. There, a member of the SABNES (Salmon Arm Bay Nature Enhancement Society) board indicated the number of e-bikes using the Foreshore Trail has increased. They reported that many bikers are biking two aside and at speeds not compatible with the number of people on the trail.

“The main concern is regarding the safety of pedestrians on the trail, notably the many seniors that use the trail daily, many who have mobility issues and may not hear the e-bikes quickly approaching from behind,” wrote Bellhouse. “We are concerned that some trail users may decide not to return to the Foreshore Trail due to feeling uncomfortable with the e-bikes, or worse that someone may be injured if they are not able to move out of the way.”

She said the roundtable would like to propose that signage be installed on the trail indicating how to share the trail, along with considering a posted speed limit for bikes. It would be most effective if done in conjunction with an education campaign and with the understanding that it is an interim measure as part of a wider approach to developing an e-bike policy for the specific trail and the city as a whole, she wrote.

Bellhouse noted the Shuswap Trail Alliance is ready to support the initiative and assist with the development/installation of signage, and/or an education campaign at the direction of city council and staff.

Read more: E-bike restriction on Okanagan Rail Trail to be reviewed following complaints

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he thinks e-bikes are very positive in the hilly city, but it is also important to deal with the issue on the trail. He said he’s not sure if people will pay attention to speed limits and asked for input from staff.

Staff suggested forwarding the issue to the city’s Greenways Liaison Committee for further discussion.

Coun. Tim Lavery, who chairs the committee, agreed. He said if Greenways members hear staff’s thoughts on the issue, they will be able to provide council with a fuller picture.

Lavery said it hearkens back to dogs being off-leash at the foreshore and what the actual extent of the problem is.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren, the city’s rep on SABNES, pointed out that SABNES hires a student in summer to do walks twice daily along the Foreshore Trail. They keep track of dogs on and off leash.

“I’m pretty sure I could bring this to their committee and ask them to add the prevalence of e-bikes so we can at least get a count of how often it’s happening.”

Council decided unanimously to send the issue to the Greenways committee for further discussion.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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