Bike to Work Week 2009 – Bike Lane Poll

Comments 18 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Today kicks off Bike to Work Week in BC as people are being encouraged to leave their cars at home for their commute and when they head to the polls to vote.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

To challenge workplaces (and offer a reward for their participation) you can register your office & your school and win prizes for making the switch this week while logging your progress. To make the ride a safe one, should you have any troubles with your bike this week while participating, you can also call BCAA’s bike assist to come and give you a hand, free of charge.

Check out the Bike to Work Week site to see if your community is participating, discover resources and events happening this week.

On a related note, having a city that is accessible to cyclists, with paths, transit compatibility, bike lanes etc. is vital to a place like Vancouver. The monthly Critical Mass rides to reclaim the city from motorized vehicles and create a car-free space for riders as they cycle as a group, giving a steady reminder of the need for change. The latest decision from City Council to dedicate a lane on the Burrard Bridge to cyclists seems to have this in mind, although not all are in agreement.

Under the trial, which will begin in mid-to-late June, all pedestrians will have to use the west sidewalk. Bicyclists will use the east sidewalk and the west curb lane, separated from traffic with barriers.[CBC]

In honor of this decision, and it being Bike to Work Week, here’s a quick poll:
[poll id=”33″]

18 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Vita KolodnyMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 9:18am PDT

    I was on the Burrard St bridge on my bicycle yesterday on the sidewalk which always freaks me out because it is narrow and I am afraid if I fall I will fall right into a car. Looking forward to the trial. Let’s see what happens with traffic.

  2. ChrisMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 9:28am PDT

    Although I’ve tossed around the idea of using a bike to commute to work when the weather improves, I usually talk myself out of it due to the fear I have of being run over by someone who doesn’t feel a bike belongs on the road. That being said, I believe we need to look at better options than a car to improve the commute so having dedicated bike lanes, HOV/Bus lanes on major arteries, and a general improvement in transit options is a necessary evil.

  3. MonicaMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 10:36am PDT

    If it is safe for both parties, I’m for it. You don’t want cyclists getting hurt and you don’t want drivers taking risks due to frustration.

    I would say a more important thing would be transit, but that’s just my opinion.

  4. KimmMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 12:18pm PDT

    I’m for safety cyclists/pedestrians on busy(on non busy)roads. It was a shocker when I moved to the area where I am now. There barely any sidewalks or bike lanes and with that I stopped biking as I don’t feel safe on the roads with idiot drivers going 20+ over the speed limit.

    Bike to work week, works better I find if the weather is nicer and if you lived closer to your workplace. Not everyone is willing to bike over an hour to get to work/home from work.

  5. TylerMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 12:33pm PDT

    I have no bike. Though my commute times vary on the day of the week. Less than 5 minutes some days, but then 40-60minutes others. A bike would be out of the question for my commute for either.

    I’m up for a bike lane. My suggestion was to make Burrard a 5 lane vehicle bridge with alternating counter-flow like the Causeway or Pitt River Bridge or Massey Tunnel etc. Have 1 dedicated lane to cyclists but then figure out how they are to cross over safely without really interrupting their cycling too much. But to make it a counter-flow would take a HUGE amount of roadspace. I think it would also break the way that Pacific and Burrard meet, as well as like Burrard & Cornwall and Burrard and 1st.

    Though as a driver I do get quite annoyed at cyclists (and bike messengers) who think they own the road and dart in and out of cars. Expecting me to watch out for some under 200lbs person/bike in my 3000lbs vehicle.

  6. TylerMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 12:58pm PDT

    On a side note.. what happened last time when they closed lanes down for cyclists. If it didn’t work then, why are they trying it again?

    Are they attempting to do it a different way? Do they think people in general are driving less? Any time I go over the bridge (driving or walking) I see no more than 2-3 cyclists on either side of the bridge.

    Won’t the closing of the lane(s) increase vehicle traffic on other bridges such as Granville or Cambie (btw Cambie is looking awesome now that they have the median in and lines painted etc).

  7. LaraMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 2:11pm PDT

    I agree with Tyler – closing one lane of traffic on the Burrard Street bridge will do nothing but shift vehicle traffic over to the Cambie Street or the Granville Street bridge. As if either of those bridges need more cars jammed on it! I commute over the Burrard Street bridge everyday for work, and even in the summer months when the weather is nice, the bike/pedestrian lanes are not congested at all.

    I appreciate that Gregor Robertson wants Vancouver to become a greener city, but I really have to object to this particular approach. People within his own administration admit that changing the traffic pattern on the Burrard bridge won’t decrease our city’s carbon footprint; in fact, it will do just the opposite. Taking away one (or more) lane(s) of traffic from cars will create more traffic, causing more idling on the bridge (which obviously translates to more gas emissions being released into the environment) as well as the consumption of more gasoline (as the constant stopping and going that occurs in traffic uses more gas in your car).

    All in all, I think that Gregor and his buddies need to head back to the drawing board on this one. My guess would be that this initiative will not proceed past the testing phase.

  8. SMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 9:29pm PDT


    By the time the trial starts, the Cambie Bridge will be back to three lanes in each direction.

  9. BrigitteMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 10:02pm PDT

    Currently, there are more cars crossing daily on the six-lane Burrard Bridge than on the eight-lane Granville Bridge. A shift in traffic pattern is much needed and will also be easier soon as the Cabada line construction draws to an end.

    I cycle on Burrard Bridge at least once or twice a week, and I always see a number of bikes and even more pedestrians over the 5 minutes that my crossing takes. I strongly encourage any car-exclusive driver to park their car just one day and walk across the bridge. If you don’t usually cycle, I don’t recommend borrowing a bike to try it because frankly right now it’s not very safe and an unskilled cyclist could easily endanger her/himself and the surrounding pedestrians. Surely the experience will make you feel different about traffic on the bridge.

  10. SMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 10:02pm PDT


    The 1996 trial was the northbound curb lane on the bridge.

    Since then, some of the changes: left turn lanes were installed from Burrard onto Cornwall, bus lanes were created on Burrard for peak hour travel downtown, the 44 bus route was created that runs between downtown and UBC, frequency of the 22 bus has gone up, new bike lanes were constructed on Burrard, Hornby, Dunsmuir, Richards, Homer, Pacific Blvd and Beatty, and new bike routes on Chilco, Cardero, and 10th Avenue.

    In a nutshell, it’s thirteen years later.

    From the 1996 City Report:

    “Secondly, vehicular drivers changed their behaviour quickly and
    adjusted to the installation of the bike lane. Delays of up to 20
    minutes were reported early in the week and reduced to a few
    minutes of delay later in the week.”

  11. RichardMonday, May 11th, 2009 — 10:23pm PDT

    It is really a safety issue. 8 cyclists in the last five months have been injured on the bridge. The trial will be a big improvement at least on the west side. What drivers forget is that when a cyclist is injured, that leads to big delays on the bridge. As well, if a cyclist is knocked off the sidewalk, motorists will have to stop fast and risk being rear-ended by someone travelling twice the speed limit.

  12. JenTuesday, May 12th, 2009 — 8:43am PDT

    As a cyclist who used to travel on that bridge daily until 8 months ago (I now work outside downtown) I think the proposed trial is absolutely unnecessary.

    I do agree that the sidewalks, in their current state, are dangerous because there is no barrier between the sidewalk and traffic. It’s no wonder there have been some terrible accidents.

    However, closing the bridge because a vocal minority of cyclists are annoyed that they need to *share* the sidewalk with pedestrians and other cyclists and have to ride single-file for a whole 5 minutes is just appalling to me.

    I’m all for improving safety on the bridge, that’s long overdue. And I agree with projects that improve efficiencies – but not when they only benefit a fraction of the population at the expense of the majority.

  13. Camera.KenWednesday, May 13th, 2009 — 12:11pm PDT

    I think that having badly injured cyclists is appalling. There are priorities in life — and it seems to me that being able to travel without risk of serious injury is a much higher priority than almost anything else.

    It certainly trumps expedience and convenience.

  14. KateWednesday, May 13th, 2009 — 5:31pm PDT

    Perhaps some of those frustrated commuters will turn to car-pooling or (gasp) cycling. Anything that makes it harder for people to drive their cars and safer for the rest of us is cool by me!

  15. TerryThursday, May 14th, 2009 — 10:56am PDT

    The bike lanes are a bad idea. How are the bike lanes and car lanes going to intersect at each end of the bridge? The conjestion due to less car lanes will cause more polution since the traffic on all the down town bridges will be slowed down and will spend more time ideling as they crawl across the bridge.

  16. Morning Cycle Around Town with Opus » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittFriday, May 15th, 2009 — 4:23pm PDT

    […] an end but check out the Vancouver Cycling Coalition for upcoming events and information. This is a city of cyclists and I look forward to being a part of it all in the very near future. Contest […]

  17. GeorgeSunday, May 17th, 2009 — 11:06am PDT

    People are usually resistant to change and that’s why the government needs to make good decisions for the public. I want to see how this trial really affects drivers. Would a five minute extra car trip really cause that much of a problem? I agree that this is necessary evil to encourage and provide options for cyclists and pedestrians across the Burrard Bridge. If possible, another idea is to only have the bike lanes installed during the warmer months such as between May and September.

  18. CarloWednesday, May 27th, 2009 — 8:31pm PDT

    Fully agree with George. No one likes change, even if it is for the better all round good. Since moving to Melbourne I cycle to work (10 kms each way) everyday. This city is great for cyclists and there are lots of them. Plenty of bike lanes and dedicated paths…but it’s still a contentious issue and the motorists vs cyclists culture still exists.

    All this in mind, I wrote this article for BOTH cyclists and motorists in the hopes that behaviours change:

    I don’t think merely adding bike lanes anywhere will change things (or at least very much). Education is a must and the current culture has to change.

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