Stephen Rees's blog

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

Death leads to call for physically separated cycling network

with 5 comments

SURREY – The recent tragic death of a cyclist in Surrey has city council candidate Paul Hillsdon leading the call for safe cycling facilities across the city. The cyclist, in his 50’s, was hit from behind by a Honda Accord in Newton, and was pronounced dead at the scene. One of Hillsdon’s main platform pillars is sustainable transportation and his vision for cycling is bold – putting safety of the rider first and foremost.

“On average, bikes travel 15 km/h, while cars and trucks go 60 km/h +. Why these two forms of transportation are designated one and the same is beyond absurd,” said Hillsdon. “Surrey has, at best, bike lanes on some roads, and a thin white line of paint is not, and was not in this case, safe to cycle on. If a cycling route is not safe enough for a child or a senior to ride, then it is not safe.”
Hillsdon’s vision calls for a three pronged cycling network across Surrey. Neighbourhood roads would be traffic calmed with bike lanes, recreational greenways would meander through parks and natural spaces, while all major arterial streets would feature physically separated bike paths. Physical separation could be achieved through relatively cheap means such as bollards, cement blocks, or even small plant-filled boulevards.
“People should not have to fear for their lives on a bicycle. Over 1/3 of all citizens in cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam use bikes as their main form of transport and it’s because the main travel routes are physically separated from the roadway and cars. It’s not rocket science!”
“If we want to get people out of their cars and onto bicycles, we need a safe network and this will only be achieved be showing leadership in the region and building physically separated bike routes along major arterials in Surrey. Cyclists like myself will not stand idly by while cars kill us for choosing a healthy, and environmentally friendly, mode of transport.”

Written by Stephen Rees

August 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

Posted in cycling

5 Responses

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  1. A thought experiment: suppose we had a skulk of rabid foxes running around in Stanley Park, and every once in a while someone died after being bitten. Would we (a) have the Vancouver Police put out a release once per year saying people walking in the park should be careful, and watch out for the rabid foxes, (b) construct a network of safe paths in the park, with fox-proof barriers of some kind, or (c) shoot the foxes?


    August 29, 2008 at 9:06 am

  2. d) A harm reduction facility would be built in the park so that the foxes could safely infect themselves with rabies.


    August 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

  3. As a slow, chicken cyclist who does not want to ride alongside 2ton hulks of metal going 50+km/h this is exactly the kind of committment I want to hear from Vancouver’s next mayor.

    Show me a city with a significant mode split of cycling that does not have physically separated bike lanes. They don’t exist. All the cities that have a serious percentage of trips made by bikes are ones with physically separated bike lanes. Cities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany – mode splits of 20-50% cycling.

    Painted bike lanes or lanes shared with buses/parked cars are fine for a small percentage of people who will ride in those conditions. We’ve seen what that percentage is – about 4% in Vancouver. If we want the next 40% out on their bikes we need to give bikes space separate from cars.


    August 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

  4. Dave, there already are safe injection sites for the foxes. They’re called gas stations and they’re all over the city.


    August 29, 2008 at 3:56 pm

  5. I love that drivers are being compared to rabid foxes here. Feel the multi-modal love!


    August 31, 2008 at 9:28 am

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