Fw: Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

Francis van Loon <fvanloon@...>

Hi Marion, Larry, Colin and VACC-Richmond Community Cycling Committee,
I'm forwarding to you a letter from a couple of concerned cyclists about a local Richmond issue.  I hope you will be able to direct them through the appropriate channels.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

Hi Michael and Rhondda,
I will forward your concern to our member-organization, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC),  and the VACC - Richmond Bicycle Committee.
The VACC handles all local and regional issues in the Vancouver Area. You will be in good hands with them.
The VACC-President is Marion Orser, you can reach her by e-mail at:  president@...    or  
via their general e-mail address:  vacc@...
Thank you for contacting the BC Cycling Coalition, and please be sure to contact me if you do not receive a response.
Best regards,
Francis van Loon
BC Cycling Coalition

Francis van Loon
President  British Columbia Cycling Coalition
Chair  ICBC Cycling Advisory Committee
Co-Chair  MoT Provincial Advisory Cycling Committee
Spokesperson  CRD Regional Cycling Advisory Committee
tel: 250-370-0428    fax: 250-370-5236
e-mail:  fvanloon@...
BCCC e-mail:  bccc@...
BCCC website:  http://www.bccc.bc.ca
"The Unbearable Rightness of Cycling"  - R.C.1998

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 11:12 AM
Subject: Shell Road Trail - Dog Off-leash Areas

We have written in the past to express our concern about the decision to turn a popular cycling and jogging trail into an off-leash area for dogs.  We did this not long after the trail was turned into an off-leash area.  We received no response to our concerns, possibly because our emails were not directed to the appropriate department.  We are therefore sending this email to any department which may have responsibility for off-leash areas.  If your department is not involved we would appreciate it if you would forward this email to the correct person.
To Whom It May Concern,
We are writing to you again to express our concern about the Shell Road Trail in Richmond being made an off-leash area for dogs.  It is not appropriate for a number of reasons.
We realize that you may not be cyclists.  As non-cyclists you are perhaps not aware that bicycles and loose dogs are a potentially dangerous mix.  Also, as non-cyclists you may not be aware that the Shell Road Trail is marked on the Commuter Cycling Map as the main north-south connection on the east side of Richmond.  The trail is used by people going to and from work and school on their bikes.  This trail connects the industrial areas around Cambie Road, Alderbridge and the Oak Street Bridge with Ironwood and areas south of the Steveston Highway.  It also links up with east-west routes along Williams and Westminster Highway.
If you have only looked at the trail on a map, you may not be aware of how narrow the trail becomes in certain places.  In some places the path is barely wide enough for one person and one bicycle to pass each other safely.   With the thick undergrowth, there is no room for loose dogs.  There are also no signs reminding dog owners of their responsibility to be in control of their dogs at all times.  On the contrary, the signs placed half-way along each section seem to depict a pedestrian warning a cyclist to get out of the way of his dog.  The message of this cryptic little design is that it is up to cyclists to get out of the dogs' way.
This would not be a problem in itself if all dog owners behaved responsibly.  Unfortunately, as you know full well, many do not. Many owners seem to think that when they take the leash off their dog they have no reponsibility for its behaviour and that it is up to everyone else to get out of the dog's way.  We have even experienced owners standing back to watch while their dogs try to knock us off our bikes.  Some people even seem to think that the Shell Road Trail is for the exclusive use of off-leash dogs, and that cyclists are there either illegally or on sufferance..  
One wonders who would be liable in law if a cyclist or pedestrian were injured by an uncontrolled dog. Your signs certainly do not provide the city with any legal protection.  
With the increasing daylight and the warmer weather, loose dogs are again going to become more and more of a problem for those of us who use the trail regularly.
We would suggest that perhaps an area in the new park at Granville and Garden City could be set aside for dogs and that the Shell Road trail be returned to the use of cyclists, walkers, joggers and people with leashed dogs.  In the meantime, while you are debating this issue, at least change the signs along the trail to show the true responsibilities of all trail users, especially dog owners.
Yours truly,
Michael and Rhondda Plumb
PS On the north side of Westminster Highway there are a couple of signs for Richmond Trails, telling people the proper use of the trails.  The signs are on the section of the trail where there is a separate path for cyclists.  It is also placed at the beginning of a largely unused section of the trail.  In the eight years we have been using the Shell Road Trail to commute to and from work, we have only once seen anybody on this section of the trail..