Light Rail

Letter: Time to Make Hamilton More User Friendly

By Letter to the Editor
Published July 06, 2011

Dear Mayor and City of Hamilton Councillors,

Just a quick note to tell you that I support the City going ahead with the installation of LRT in Hamilton. It would be my dream to have just LRT in the core, going to the east, west and central mountain, Ancaster, Dundas and Stoney Creek.

It is time to rid Hamilton's core of traffic, make the city more user friendly for bicycles. (Note: the new bike lane up the Jolley cut is wonderful but where is the bike lane down the cut? Soon enough, someone will be taken out on the down curve or are we supposed to use the new walkway?)

Many European cities are making their cities unfriendly toward the car, i.e. no synchronized lights, longer wait times for green lights, less parking spaces for cars but more spaces for bikes etc.

Being disabled, you would think I would prefer taking our car but I prefer walking, taking the bus, or riding my electric bicycle (with the exception of going down the mountain). Going down the mountain is tricky and my husband prefers I use the sidewalk on the Jolley Cut because he is honestly afraid I will be hit by a vehicle.

Sincerely,

Catherine Burden

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By 2 wheels good (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 13:19:51

Catherine Burden said: "Note: the new bike lane up the Jolley cut is wonderful but where is the bike lane down the cut? Soon enough, someone will be taken out on the down curve or are we supposed to use the new walkway?"

No, please not on the walkway Catherine! Bicycles and EBikes are defined as "Vehicles" under the Highway Traffic Act, and it's illegal to drive "Vehicles" on a sidewalk. As well as exposing you to the risk of fines and points off your drivers license it's also unsafe for you as the sidewalk is too narrow, and puts pedestrians you may encounter at risk.
You have 2 options for descending the escarpment with a bicycle or EBike. Dismount and walk your bike down using the sidewalk, or ride down on the road.
If on the road you should be in the right hand lane in what motorcycle riders call a "blocking position", that is with the wheels of your bike where the left hand set of wheels of a car would be if it were in that lane.
While the law does not specify a speed, other than to say you should not be so slow as to be obstructing the flow of traffic,for safety you should be moving with, or slightly faster than the other traffic on the road. Since this may mean 60 km/hr or more you need a bike / EBike that is well maintained, and a skill set to match.
If that is an issue you might want to consider the excellent adult cyclist training offered by the Canadian Cycling Association, the "Can-Bike" level 1 and 2 programs.
http://www.canbike.net/cca_pages/index.htm
Most of the courses are in Toronto, but they used to run them in Hamilton to train the Hamilton Police bike cops, you might be able to get loaded in on one of those...

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 13:31:48

Since this may mean 60 km/hr or more you need a bike / EBike that is well maintained, and a skill set to match

or a lane to drive in.

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By 2 wheels good (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 14:31:31 in reply to Comment 65655

"or a lane to drive in." You mean the imaginary down-bound bike lanes that don't exist? Well, in the case of the escarpment that's probably a good thing. It would be expected that a down bound bike lane would have a higher rate of crashes than you will see with bikes riding with other traffic in mixed use lanes.

While it's true that dedicated bike lanes often increase bicycle use on a given route, and increase the level of perceived safety, especially for novice cyclists, if you look at controlled studies of collisions it is also the case that bike lanes tend to increase collision rates, not decrease them.

This is in large part because they complicate vehicle "crossing movements" at intersections, which is where about 80% of urban collisions occur.

But also, and particular to this case, alarmingly high collision rates are seen on high speed (steep gradient) bike paths due to the wide range of speeds chosen by different users within the bike lane.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 15:45:09 in reply to Comment 65660

This shouldn't be an issue down the Jolley Cut, where there are no intersections on the right hand side where downbound cyclists could complicate vehicle crossing movements.

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By 2 wheels good (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 16:01:27

There is a fairly extensive literature out there, in spite of the fact that it's not the kind of data that gets you hired by folks with money i.e. governments looking to build bike paths, or by so called cyclist advocate groups pushing for their construction. I suspect most of the citations I have are not on line, much work was done in the pre-web 80's on this though if you are interested I could dig them out. Anyways here is one that is representative, the largest such study ever done in Denmark:
http://www.trafitec.dk/pub/Road%20safety%20and%20percieved%20risk%20of%20cycle%20tracks%20and%20lanes%20in%20Copenhagen.pdf

Collisions between intersections were reduced by 10%, and injuries by 4%, But
Collisions at intersections increased by 18% resulting in an increased injury rate in these groups as follows:
Pedestrians: +28%
Cyclists: +22%
Moped riders: +37%

The net effect was an increase in accidents and injuries to non-motorists overall of 9% to 10%

Car drivers on the other hand benefited from the introduction of the bike paths, the injury rate in that group dropped by about 4% after the installation of the bike lanes.


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By Catherine Burden (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2011 at 21:23:54 in reply to Comment 65651

There is no way my battery powered bike can reach a speed of 60 km/hr let alone 20km/hr. Plus the new sidewalk on the jolley cut is used consistently by many bikers and there is more than enough room for both the bicyclist and the pedestrian,(I do get off my bike and walk it when near people). As for riding in the 'blocking position', I wouldn't do that on any city street because I am positive all car owners would be either yelling at me or honking their horn.

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