Quebec cyclists training in South Okanagan called out for breaking law, poor behaviour | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Quebec cyclists training in South Okanagan called out for breaking law, poor behaviour

A group of visiting cyclists from Quebec has been raising the ire of motorists in the South Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dan Moskaluk
April 08, 2021 - 1:40 PM

A retired Penticton RCMP officer passed on a message about safety and courtesy to a group of cyclists from Quebec training in the South Okanagan for the past month.

The visit from the athletes also raises questions about violations to COVID-19 public health orders in both Quebec and B.C.

Dan Moskaluk first encountered the group — part of Équipe Cycliste Desjardins-Ford, a youth amateur sports team based in Quebec — riding in the Naramata area late last month. Two groups of cyclists were riding in the Indian Rock area north of Naramata where he saw riders crowding their lane by riding two and three abreast, at times forcing traffic to veer into the oncoming lane on curving sections of roadway.

Moskaluk also noticed the group’s safety van being driven in front of, instead of trailing the group. He said the van almost collided with him as he attempted to pass because the driver failed to check for traffic before moving to the left to avoid pedestrians on the road.

He began keeping an eye out for the group as social media comments also began popping up from other residents who had concerns about the group’s safety and courtesy issues.

Yesterday, April 7, Moskaluk saw the group on Naramata Road. He got ahead of them, parked and tried to speak to passing cyclists, who largely ignored his request to find out who was in charge of the group.

“One of the riders who did reply dismissively told me they didn’t know. I’m an experienced rider and have cycled in groups and for various causes. It’s just common courtesy to direct such inquiries to the person in charge,” Moskaluk says.

He was able to flag down the safety van and asked the driver if she was aware of the problems the group was causing. It quickly became apparent the group was from Quebec, based on their language and the names of the companies on the cyclists’ jerseys. He is bilingual and was able to converse with the driver.

“I pointed out the safety issues involved in riding abreast, and that it was illegal to do so in British Columbia. She initially denied the group was doing so all the time, but I pointed out the safety and courtesy issues their behaviour had on local residents and motorists. She agreed to speak to the riders about changing what they were doing,” Moskaluk says.

A post of his encounter with the group yesterday on social media generated a number of comments from South Okanagan residents who have also seen the group training on local highways and secondary routes throughout the South Okanagan. Some say they saw the group respecting the law and riding single file, and many are saying they witnessed behaviour similar to what Moskaluk saw.

Moskaluk also wonders why the group is here training under the current COVID-19 restrictions in both Quebec and in B.C.

“Amateur or professional training is against the regulation in B.C., if you aren’t in your home base, you shouldn’t be there,” he says.

Moskaluk says as a former police officer he’s seen too many collisions involving cyclists.

“The bottom line is I just want to courteously and diplomatically convey the message to this group. It’s a safety concern for everybody. I really don’t want to see somebody get hit, or a head on collision because someone was forced into an oncoming lane because this group is riding the way they are," he says.

Équipe Cycliste Desjardins-Ford said in a response to an iNFOnews.ca inquiry that the organization understands the concerns and apologized.

“Team management and coaches have addressed the team riders accordingly. L’Equipe Cycliste Desjardins Ford have had training camps in Europe and Canada in the past years and have always respected proper road etiquette," the message reads. "Our goal has never been to disturb any locals and we have made sure these situations do not happen again. We are sorry for any disturbance in the Penticton community.”

Interior Health says in an email that from a COVID-19 perspective cycling is generally considered safe.

"However, under current public health orders, non-essential travel (even between different regions of Interior Health) is not recommended and large gatherings are not permitted. People should avoid any activities that put themselves, their loved ones and their communities at risk. We would also take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently,” the statement reads.

— This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. April 8, 2021 to include comment from Interior Health.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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