Observatory Hill – Annual Cycling Safety Message

Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 10:20:11 -0700
Subject: Observatory Hill – Annual Cycling Safety Message

Hello cyclists,

In spite of less than consistent weather conditions riders have begun to get out in greater numbers and a recent incident has sparked me to get our annual message out sooner rather than later.

As always I’d like to start by saying thank you to those of you who have supported and circulated our message in the past. We believe the buy-in by the cycling community at large is more successful if the leadership not only circulates the message electronically or on hard copy but also demonstrates the expected conduct when on site.

The incident I mentioned above occurred Wednesday, April 3rd when a descending cyclist passed a descending vehicle at the hair pin turn. The cyclist had moved over to the ascending lane where he was suddenly facing an upcoming vehicle head on. Luckily the upcoming vehicle had slowed considerably because of the impending meeting with the descending vehicle at the turn and was able to stop, however the occupant was shaken. The cyclist then squeezed between the vehicles and sped away. Unfortunately we were unable to determine the identity of the rider other than to be informed that the rider had a blue jersey with red accents. This type of cycling behaviour is unacceptable and needs to be stopped now before a serious accident occurs and/or cycling access to the hill is restricted.

A few important reminders and rules to abide by when accessing Observatory Hill:

* Our business and facility are essentially a 24/7 operation. A closed gate does not mean there will not be vehicular traffic on the road nor does the gate impede the walkers, hikers and wildlife from access.

* Our busiest commuting period is Monday to Friday 8:00 am – 9:30 am and 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. Group cycling activities should be avoided during these periods.

* While the Visitor Centre is open in the spring and summer months additional public traffic is on the hill. The public is less aware of the issues of our road and more caution by our existing users is required.

* Ride according to the posted speed limits at all times but particularly through the building site where there is abundant pedestrian traffic and a blind corner. (A number of cyclists continue to speed through hit area – the building site speed limit is 20 km/h)

* Cycling traffic is restricted from proceeding around the 1.8 m Dome, consistent with motor vehicle traffic rules. Signage has been installed indicating this is for pedestrians only.

* We are also requesting that cyclists who are training or in groups, use the circle turn-about located between the White House and the smaller telescope dome (near the concrete water tank) as their upper point of return.

* Absolutely no off-road cycling whatsoever is permitted on site.

* If training in groups please try to keep your numbers spread out so as not to impede traffic and permit passing. Do not congest the travelled portions – use the parking lot areas for rest or discussion.

* Always stay within your lane.

We continue to welcome cycling enthusiasts to the hill but this access is at our discretion and the safety of all is our utmost priority. Observatory Hill is the property of the National Research Council Canada and for all intents and purposes, it is private property. Incidents like the one mentioned above require us to look closely at the access we currently allow.

We look forward to your continued support in encouraging all cyclists to abide by our rules and to exercise caution at all times.

I would appreciate it if you would disseminate this message as widely as possible to the ridership. If you are aware of other contacts you feel should see this message, please provide them to me and I will add them to the distribution list. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you and safe cycling!

Best Regards,

Clyde Donnelly, FMA
Site Infrastructure Manager

Administrative Services and Property Management / Direction des services administratifs et gestion de l’immobilier
National Research Council Canada / Conseil national de recherches Canada
5071 W Saanich Rd, Victoria, V9E 2E7
Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada

Phone 250 363 0004 \ Cel 250 888 1093 \ Fax 250 363 0077 \ Clyde.Donnelly@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca