Manitoulin’s Municipalities unanimously support paved shoulders on Highway 540

MANITOULIN— Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) is pleased to see unanimous municipal support for paved shoulders on Highway 540 as it will receive resurfacing between 2016-2018. Paved shoulders dramatically increase the safety of all road users and are making the new one-metre passing law a lot easier for all our automobiles, big trucks and tandem trailers.

MICA has forwarded all municipal resolutions to the Minister of Transportation Ontario (MTO).

“Paved shoulders improve the safety of all road users and make passing a cyclist easier,” states Maja Mielonen, president of MICA. “They also enhance the longevity of the road by five years. On Manitoulin Island they have brought ever increasing tourism since 2012, with some accommodations reporting up to 20 percent of their annual income due to cycle tourism in 2014 and 2015.”

Municipalities have passed resolutions expressing the desire to make Manitoulin a top cycling destination, “as they have witnessed the direct, positive impact these road safety improvements have brought to Manitoulin along Highway 6 and recently on Highway 551,” Ms. Mielonen continues. “Cycling with a road bike is favoured by most of our visitors, which is another good reason to support Manitoulin’s lobby efforts for paved shoulders on Highway 540, as they increase the safety and overall satisfaction of our visitors tremendously.”

Nearly 8,000 copies of the Manitoulin Island and LaCloche Mountains Cycling Routes and Road Map have been sold. The third edition will see an addition of over 27 kiloemtres of new mountain bike trails, a summer activity enjoyed by many of our visitors. The Manitoulin and the LaCloche area offers well over 800 kilometres of cycling loops enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

“With excellent hill training through the LaCloche Mountains, quiet flat paved country roads for roadies and off road trails, our visitors stay an average of 6.5 days on Manitoulin,” Ms. Mielonen explains. “That is a few days longer than any other visitor segment. MICA is happy to inform you that our volunteers will be representing Manitoulin again at the three-day Toronto International Bicycle Show in early March 2016. The Chi-Cheemaun, The Expositor and many municipalities continue to support MICA in this effort. Last year we distributed over 1,500 copies of The Expositor’s ‘This is Manitoulin’ publication filled with promotional material.”

Ms. Mielonen noted that the ferry walk-on cycle count was up over 14.5 percent and the overall count is up with 5,186 bicycles counted. Last year’s Manitoulin Passage ride attracted 240 riders and preparations are well on the way for the 6th annual Manitoulin Passage Ride, June 4 and 5, 2016. MICA is expecting over 300 participants.

MICA is now asking the public to support its lobby efforts and to send your support for paved shoulders on Hwy 540 to: Hon Steven Del Duca, Ministry of Transportation, 3rd Floor, Ferguson Block, 77 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8, or go to www.manitoulincycling.com  Click on the link ‘Paved shoulder Hwy 540’ and send the prepared letter directly to the Minister of Transportation, CC to Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes and MICA.