Comment 39250

By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 29, 2010 at 12:19:28

"Families and their kids cannot typically ride with that kind of confidence. It takes fortitude and practiced skill to share some of these busy roads. The feeling of increased safety is indeed a very real and necessary part of the infrastructure to get a larger demographic riding." - mikeonthemountain

This is why I'm not a big fan of the cheaper (but yes possibly more immediate on the positive side) sprayed on bike lanes. If we want to look at Holland as the example. Amsterdam has well established bike lanes separated from traffic by at least curbing in many areas. And to me the separation of the bikes from the cars is one area where we will need to consider our culture and may need to provide better protection for the bicyclists because NA drivers are oblivious to almost everything but the 5 feet right in front of them. To provide that protection will require redoing many streetscapes, which I believe is a positive, but that is more costly and this is where the current debate about priority begins.

I go by the current spray on bike lanes past Dundurn everyday to and from work and I see minimum use and certainly not the level of use of bike lanes I saw in Amsterdam that are like bicycle expressways (look before you cross or you'll get a bike up your rear end!). So with minimally used current spray on bike lanes, are more ill conceived spray on bike lanes going to help much? I don't believe so.

To me this is a situation to be careful what you wish for. Do you want a bunch of half-baked sprayed on bike lanes crammed against the side of a 60 or 80kmh road with sewer grate obstacles, etc, that only expert bicyclist are going to be comfortable using? Sure we can have those tomorrow with minimal expense and then you have your bike lanes, half-baked as they may be.

Or do you want to take more money and yes time (because now priority and planning will play a bigger part) to create a truly useful bicycle network with dedicated paths linked to well designed bike lanes? If you ask for and get the spray on lanes, it may be tough going back to the well a second time to ask for more. Some city planning accountant will say we already have X kilometers of "bike lanes" and adding more will cost X dollars and any money for additional improved bike lanes can easily be painted as fat to be cut. Don't give the "drive till we use every drop of oil" crowd, which when I look at the society we live in still appears to be the majority, the easy spray on solution (which as I have argued I do not view as a solution to much of anything). This again is where we need to consider our culture.

Let's get this right is what I am saying, but also realise getting it right may require a bit more patience on the part of bike lane proponents.

Good discussion going though!

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