Monday, July 09, 2007

Separate bike lanes - Bad idea?

Here's an interesting perspective, bicycle safety education and publicity would create safer cycling conditions than paying the big bucks to build separate bike lanes. From The Peterborough (Ont.) Examiner. There are a few sensible ideas here.

Safe cycling program better than bike lanes

Re "Bike debate runs hot" (June 28) -

I cycle for transportation year round and I believe bike lanes are a bad idea. Recreational and novice cyclists demand bike lanes as they don't wish to deal with traffic, which is understandable; but when biking for transportation, traffic is a given.

I can't see how expending vast sums on bike lanes is going to improve the safety of the cyclists.

In fact I can see many ways where they would endanger cyclists, particularly those with little traffic experience (and those are the ones clamouring for bike lanes).

The city cannot build bike lanes for all the places transportation cyclists need to go: for work, meetings, doctors appointments, school, shopping and other errands.

There is also the ongoing cost of maintenance and upkeep, including snow removal.

Bike lanes lull novices into a false sense of security where they are not in tune with traffic flow, and suddenly they are dumped out at major intersections where most accidents happen.

Motorists pulling out of driveways and stop streets look to see if the traffic lane is clear and do not see cyclists in bike lanes as they are not in their line of sight.

Left turns from bike lanes are a real problem, requiring the cyclist to cross several lanes of traffic.

Cars parked in bike lanes cause cyclists to swerve in and out or onto sidewalks, which is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

The travelled portion of the road is swept clean of nuts, bolts, broken glass etc. by cars. It all would all end up in the bike lane. The solution to safe cycling in Peterborough is education, for cyclists and motorists.

"Share the road" signs on all busy streets, particularly where vehicles enter the city, and on the back of buses.

Bike-awareness programs for drivers of City of Peterborough vehicles.

City-sponsored bicycle education programs in elementary and high schools.

City-organized Can-Bike programs to teach vehicular cycling techniques to adults.

Wide curb lanes, allowing bikes and cars to share the road in a co-operative and safe manner.

In its official transportation plan, the city has allotted funds to encourage cycling for transportation purposes. It would be better spent on education than on bike lanes.



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