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July 27, 2009

Comments

Adam Glauser

I am disappointed to read this, as I agree about the need for a bicycle-centric network in order for a cycling culture to fully develop. Correctly or not, people seem to feel much more comfortable cycling on-road where bike lanes exist.

plam

I'm not convinced that bike lanes are a panacea either. I think that not having streets like Erb and Fischer-Hallman might actually be more helpful than bike lanes, but I'm not sure how to get there.

peter wilson

I think the bicycle lanes should stay
it is hard to get from one end of the city
to other end. I like the city streets
when you take the city trails it takes too long to get there there are too many people
on the trail
Montreal has the best bicycle network

geoffrey

SOME bicyclists ride in an antisocial manner due to their perception of being marginalised as traffic. WHEN motorists insist on passing too closely, make right hooks and left crosses around bicyclists then blame bicyclists for being in their way, this seems an appropriate reaction. Considering the reluctance of police to charge motorists when motorists drive aggressively sometimes striking bicyclists, this reinforces that marginalised or disconnected feeling.

I won't endorse sidewalk cycling or passing a line of stopped cars on the right or any number of other poor moves bicyclists perform due to their perceived disconnect but I can appreciate and empathise with their doing so.

Outhit, Waterloo Region planners and police should seek to do likewise. That there are as many licensed drivers as there are who believe they can use their vehicles as weapons with justification against bicyclists speaks volumes about the quality of driver education and licensing in Ontario. Bicyclists are more likely to be encouraged back onto the roads once motorists cease playing bumper tag with them. Our tolerance of this pastime is our downfall.

bill

I understand that Erb Street is getting the full bike-lane treatment, which will eat up a fair bit of the bicycling infrastructure dollars. Not sure that Erb Street -- where the cars travel like it's an Indy circuit -- is an ideal candidate for a bike lane.

jjv

I think my bike trailer is wider than 65cm. After having spoken with 12 people so far this year about why they ride on sidewalks and crosswalks and the wrong way in bike lanes (Columbia St and Seagram Dr), I feel confident to say that those 12 people didn't know that it was dangerous and/or illegal to do so.

The Region sent out pamphlets about how to use roundabouts and I wonder if an annual pamphlet on how to cycle safely and in accordance with the law would help.

@plam: You're right, if roads are designed to feel fast like F-H and Erb, those roads will never feel friendly for cyclists.

@bill: Having recently cycled in the new Erb St bike lanes, they felt narrow relative to the speed of the vehicles beside me and were great parking spots for cars.

-jjv.

geoffrey

Putting full bikelanes on streets like Erb and Fischer-Hallman goes a long way to changing the streetscape to something more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. It is exactly arterials as these which are the greatest impediments to bicyclists. There are destinations on these streets bicyclists would access if they could without motorist intimidation. These would be among those streets selected by the bicycling traveller unacquainted with the local sidestreets to get around. The city has an obligation to make all surface streets useful to all transportation modes. Bicycling is under represented in mode share due to traffic design that neglected or worse deterred bicyclists from using facilities. Tolerating this policy further is absurd.

C Lousley

Bill: In Waterloo Region, it is unlikely that wide lanes will help cyclists. The general rule for traffic planning is that the wider the lane, the faster the cars travel. In an area where cycling numbers are proportionately low, wide lanes will encourage motorist speeding (already a problem here) while doing nothing to raise motorist awareness about appropriate passing distance. In places like England where road lanes are very narrow, then the wide curb lane is a more appropriate form of cycling infrastructure. What troubles me most is that the discussion among regional staff, councillors, and even on your blog presumes the only possible cycling infrastructure is a bike lane (or a trail). But the options are much broader, and cycling infrastructure must be matched to the road width, traffic speeds, and volumes. Bike lanes are especially good in urban areas with steady, slow traffic because they give cyclists an "express lane" and avoid situations like Park Street here--where the cars aggressively race ahead after the light, pushing cyclists to the curb, then the cyclist steadily passes them all when they are all backed up at the next light. A bike lane with "bike boxes" at the intersections would work on Park Street. But since we have little traffic congestion here, the more significant problem for cyclists is motorist speed not space. It is the speeds and widths that make the bike lanes on Fisher-Hallman, Columbia, and other regional roads not very usable. Try making a left turn. Most cyclists can't merge across that many lanes on roads with such high speeds. And then there are all the traffic lights that won't change for a cyclist. International standards recommend lanes with physical barriers and facilitated crossings when traffic speeds are above 50 km/h. It's not about lobbying for bike lanes but rather advocating for a "complete streets" approach to transportation planning that aims to meet the needs of all travel modes, and encourage those like cycling that are healthier and safer. All roads and intersections should be planned with cyclists and pedestrians in mind.

Cheryl

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Bill Bean


  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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