Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

New Bike Lane in the Right Place

with 14 comments

Inside Bike Lane - Vancouver BC

Photo by Rob Baxter

New bike lane in Vancouver on Carrall near Keefer and Guzhou Alley (Chinatown) showing the correct location for a change – inside the line of parked cars but also separated from the sidewalk. As prescribed by Jan Gehl. There’s a picture of the usual, wrong, type on flckr and a link from there to a useful video

Written by Stephen Rees

April 14, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Posted in bicycles

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14 Responses

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  1. That is a thing of great beauty.


    April 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  2. x2!


    April 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm

  3. Brilliant, about time. I always thought the other version was, well, not too smart. Who would want to ride their bike between moving cars and parked cars?

    Barbara Doduk

    April 14, 2008 at 6:00 pm

  4. I think probably the price of the “painted lines next to traffic” bike lanes is more attractive for the city, no? Despite its obvious “yikes!” factor for the cyclists themselves…


    April 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

  5. as a ex part time bike rider—I admit it looks clean and freindly but—–if these lanes are but short and not too well conected what good are they when I lived in south burnaby ( and I made thousands of sky-train trips ) I rode a bike to and from various construction jobs———–and underneath expo line from newestminster to about joyce station there is wide safe bike path seperate from car traffic—it had gentle slopes and you could go aolong way fast—thats what we need!!!—–long inter connected routes that are safe I was run over at kingsway and edmonds —–I survived but the bike did not I was terrified on the streets –but segregated paths are a slice of heaven——-and as a final thought I have heard about the bad effects of diesel exhaust,and car exhaust especially when your breathing deep air grinding up hills —I would like to see a study of gridlock gasses exposure on long term city bike riders! for do they not tell people to get out of the smog,especially in the summer hmmm signed………………………………………vancouver bike theft capitol of canada

    grant g

    April 14, 2008 at 6:44 pm

  6. The location of the bike lane just boils down to whether or not a bike is a “vehicle” and whether there is greater commonality between bikes and cars (both as vehicles and both of which obey the same traffic rules (in theory at least) or whether bikes can or should co-exist in a pedestrian (or shared pathway) realm.

    Ron C.

    April 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm

  7. Ron you are a lawyer. While what you write may well apply in the event of a dispute which comes to court, most don’t. As a cyclist when I have to share a road with cars I am very much at risk. There are many drivers who regard cyclists as targets – I have been driven at deliberately (indeed was only yesterday) – or as obstructions. Richmond puts up signs that say “share the road” that are almost universally ignored. In the event of any kind of collision a cyclist is far more vulnerable than the other vehicle.

    Shared sidewalks are even worse. Cyclists have to proceed with extreme caution when there are pedestrians on the same path. A painted line – as on Garden City is worse than useless as pedestrians simply ignore it. Pedestrians are completely unpredictable and are incapable of walking in a straight line for any length of path.

    In order to encourage more people to cycle both types of conflict have to be reduced – or eliminated – and exclusive bike lanes are the way to do that. We need more people to cycle to replace short car trips. This will reduce fuel consumption, and its related issues. But most importantly human powered transportation is essential to reduce the greatest challenges to health that affluent societies face: type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The cost of these to society exceeds that of road traffic casualties.

    Stephen Rees

    April 15, 2008 at 5:36 am

  8. Jan Gehl: Cyclists are “fast pedestrians”

    I’m inclined to agree. They don’t belong on the road with cars.


    April 15, 2008 at 6:20 am

  9. It is a sad comment on us though that we cannot deal with traffic that has some elements that move more slowly than others. But all the traffic engineering studies point to higher collision rates, the greater the variability in traffic speeds. Not just bikes. Something happens to humans when they become drivers.

    Stephen Rees

    April 15, 2008 at 6:37 am

  10. I generally ride about 25 to 35km/h on flats and 15 to 25km/h on most hills. That would be a pretty fast pedestrian.

    On most of the bikeways in Vancouver which have traffic calming (speed humps and/or “traffic circles”) bicycles often have to slow down when there is a car on the road. On these roads I would say that cars are “slow cyclists” and that they don’t belong on the bikeway with bicycles.


    April 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

  11. I think this is relevant. The City of Vancouver has a budget every year to install speed humps on streets ranked by criteria including the number of cars exceeding the posted speed limit. This year’s staff report lists the suggested streets — all are in 30 km/h school or playground zones. The 85th percentile speed on four of those streets is higher than 50 km/h, and the remaining nineteen are higher than 40 km/h.


    April 15, 2008 at 1:03 pm

  12. Great post as always Steven.


    April 15, 2008 at 3:24 pm

  13. I agree with you on both points – that drivers often don’t respect cyclists (and in a collision a cyclist will suffer most) and that pedestrians are oblivious to cyclists and cyclsits often ride too quickly on a shared path.

    It’s really a balancing of roles and functions based on circumstances.

    Bike paths meant for fast commuter riders are probably best placed on roadways – preferrably non-arterial roadways so that high speed cars are avoided. The older bike routes acknowledge that but the newer ones (i.e. along Cambie) could create more accidents. Downtown the issue is unavoidable and everyone has to be vigilant (driver, cyclist, pedestrian).

    Bike paths meant for slower “Sunday-ride” recreational cyclists are probably fine being mixed with or adjacent to pedestrians. On the Concord lands, I often see pedestrians walking along the separated bike path – even with baby strollers. I think the City refuses to paint symbols on the Concord lands paths themselves because they look “ugly”. Instead, the City has overhead signs on posts that are vague (they don’t have arrows pointing to each path, so it is open to interpretation that one path is westbound and the other eastbound and they are both shared paths). Joe public isn’t astute enough to figure out that paving stones = pedestrian path and asphalt = bike path.

    Ron C.

    April 16, 2008 at 11:46 am

  14. Another thought –

    Imagine if the bike paths along Dunsmuir (or all bike paths downtown) were placed inside the parked cars and next to the sidewalk.

    Now imagine trying to cycle along that path after a GM Place or a QE Theatre event lets out.

    Ron C.

    April 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm

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