Bike Lanes and Bike Routes

Shared Road Space?
Shared Road Space?

As part of my Main Street Photowalk, I came across all these new markings on the road.  I’m not sure what the symbol is supposed to do.  Does it say that you should watch out for bicycles?  It’s not actually a whole new bike lane or anything.  It’s a little ironic at the point where I took the picture because there was construction and a bike would have easily been smucked by the cube van there.

I just finished watching Gil Penalosa’s lecture from a few months back.  I know I’m behind, but life comes first and blogging comes last.  I think his words helped to explain why I love to cycle, but am reluctant to cycle more in Vancouver.  He really pushes for completely separated Bike Routes instead of Bike Lanes.  He tells the story of how one place may lobby for years for a bike lane.  They finally get a bike lane on a major arterial and only 150 people ever use the lane.  Wonder why?  Most of us are not the hardcore, kamikaze cyclist decked out in spandex.

A bike-friendly route would be a place where 8-year olds and 80-year olds find it safe to ride.  That made a lot of sense when put that way.  I have a 12km commute to work, for which many hardcore cyclists think it’s a breeze, but I do find it a struggle.  Plus my ride home is mostly uphill.  Not something I want to face at the end of the day after working almost 9 hours.  I already take all the quieter routes.  Some of which are designated cross-town bike routes.  However, even I find these “quieter” streets to still be busy.  Part of my ride takes me through the VGH area and that place is crazy in the morning.  Cyclists, cars, and pedestrians are everywhere are a weekday morning.

I guess in order to be a more successful biking city, we will have to look at entire segregation instead of these shared road spaces that most of us won’t use.

For more information, either watch Gil Penalosa’s video at SFU Harbour Centre or visit Walk and Bike for Life.

4 thoughts on “Bike Lanes and Bike Routes

  1. Those markers are called “Sharrows” – they are supposed to indicate where the cyclist should ride on the shared-street. Ideally, you shoot right through the arrows and you should be fine. In actuality, parked cars, construction and other factors make the sharrows practically invisible from time to time on Main Street.

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