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New signs remind drivers to share the road

SIMCOE, AUGUST 05, 2011 – Norfolk County is the latest in a growing list of municipalities across the province to add cautionary signs along their roads in an attempt to increase road safety awareness for all users.

Pathways for People, a community group which encourages active forms of transportation and the development and use of local trails, is partnering with the Norfolk County Roads Division and the local O.P.P. detachment to bring the Share the Road initiative to Norfolk County.

“In communities such as Norfolk County, where cycling is a major attraction for both local and touring enthusiasts as well as a main mode of transportation for many migrant workers, a little reminder to drivers to be mindful can go a long way to reduce collisions and subsequent injuries or fatalities,” noted Michele Crowley, a member of Pathways for People and a Health Promoter at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

A total of 25 signs will be posted along Norfolk County roads this summer including Lakeshore Road 42, Front Road and Radical Road for the initial phase of the program. These road sections have been identified as routes that bikers and joggers frequently use.

“The population along the lakeshore expands during the summer months as cottage owners spend time in the area,” said Bill Cridland, Roads Manager with Norfolk County. “With increased people comes increased activity on our roadways. The lakeshore area is an obvious draw for outdoor enthusiasts and so putting the first signs there is a good fit.”

Donna Crone McMillan of Port Dover, a member of Pathways for People, raised this issue with Norfolk Council due to safety concerns. McMillan noticed the Share the Road signs in other areas on her travels and thought that due to the popularity of cycling in our area, and the benefits of an active lifestyle, posting these signs on our road seemed like a good idea.

“Besides myself, I know a number of people who have had some close calls on the road”, mentioned McMillan. “These close calls include cyclists being sideswiped by a vehicle or taken out by a car door opening on Main Street.”

The Share the Road initiative has the support of North Shore Runners, based out of Port Dover Runner’s Den, the Silver Spokes Cycling Club and the local O.P.P. Detachment.

“All user groups have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road and be courteous to others,” noted O.P.P. Staff Sergeant Rick Tout. “Motor vehicle drivers need to take special precautions when approaching cyclists on the road and cyclists need to follow safe riding practices at all times. Same road, same rules, same rights.”

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition was founded by Eleanor McMahon of Burlington. McMahon lost her husband, O.P.P. Sergeant Greg Stobbart, when he was killed in a collision while on an off-duty training ride on his bicycle in June 2006.

For more information on McMahon’s work, visit www.sharetheroad.ca. For more information about the Share the Road initiative in Norfolk County, or to order a free ‘Share the Road’ bumper sticker or reflective arm band, visit www.norfolkpathways.ca.

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Media contact:
Michele Crowley
Health Promoter, Population Health
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3239 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
michele.crowley@hnhu.org