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Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Off Limits to Performance Cyclists?

release by Keep Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit for Cyclists Petition

June 11, 2009 (Montreal, QC) – Montreal-area “performance cyclists” are being banned from using the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – a popular and safe former F1 race car course.  The managers of Parc Jean-Drapeau, where the circuit is located, arbitrarily and summarily made this decision after “accidents” last summer, and without consulting performance cyclists or their federations (FQSC, TriQuebec, Can. Speed Skating (who apparently also train there). 

Parc management has decided to erect “barriers” – speed bumps – to prevent cyclists from using the course as a training location and would like the entire F1 track be used as a cycling path for recreation riders only – although it sees fit to allow cars, buses, and trucks on the same track) – despite Montreal’s hundreds of km of existing and future recreational bike paths.

Parc management claims that “only 300 performance cyclists” will be affected however but a current petition has almost 3,000 signatures. Management has also advised performance riders to use a one-lane bike path built around the rowing basin as a training area instead but the one-lane bike path is unsuitable and considered unsafe because of:

– 90 degree angle corners;
– location directly beside the rowing basin water (no barriers to prevent cyclists from falling in if they make a wrong move);
– rowing coaches often walk, blade, or cycle alongside their rowers and therefore are not watching for cyclists or other path users (let alone those riding at high speed);
– the suggested path cuts directly in front of where rowers and their boats enter the water.

The FQSC (Fédération québécoise des sports cyclistes) has issued a strong response deploring these actions that were taken without consultation with the affected athletes or their respective associations and supports the rights of cyclists. A meeting is planned for June 16 with the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve along with the Triathlon and Wheelchair Associations to find a satisfactory solution for all concerned parties. The FQSC requests that all cyclists respect the situation and not do anything that might jeopardize a potential solution.

FQSC response (in French) here.
Sign the online here petition here.
There is also a Facebook group up and running here.

Or write the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Mme. Nathalie Lessard
Directrice principale
Affaires publiques et développement durable
1, circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Montréal (Quebec), Canada H3C 1A9

Telephone: (514) 872-6120
Fax: (514) 872-5691

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