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Last concrete pour for Hornby bike lane already?

October 31st, 2010 · 86 Comments

Doug sent me this photo and message about the (incendiary) Hornby bike lane today, which I’m posting somewhat against my better judgment, as every cycling post here seems to reignite the cyclical and never-resolved Hundred Years War.

About noon on Halloween day, the last concrete was poured for the separated Hornby St bikeway lane.  I happened to be passing by when I overheard the workers announcing it to one other… so I snapped this pic for you Francis.
 
Interesting that the lane extends to the very last block of Hornby at False Creek… obviously to tie in with both the Seawall bike path and the Aquabus bike ferry that crosses from Granville Island to the foot of Hornby.
 
Doug

I also was on Hornby today and saw planters starting to go in on top of the concrete dividers. I’m not surprised it’s finishing so quickly. I always thought when the original estimate of 10 weeks for construction was given that that was to paint the most dire scenario, so that anything less than that would look good.

BTW, if I can offer this information without negating any complaints about process or choice of street for the lane, I’ve had many people fume to me that pouring concrete is “proof” that the rabid Vision council is installing these lanes permanently.  (It all seems to be part of a lot of pent-up rage about the new bike lanes in general, which inevitably come up as the first item people mention when I ask them what they don’t like about the Vision Vancouver council. And even when I don’t.)

So I asked the city’s head of engineering, Peter Judd, recently why the city didn’t just put in concrete barriers or something more temporary.

He said it was because one of the main complaints they had from businesses along Hornby and Dunsmuir — you know, the people the city is trying to keep happy — is that they didn’t want something ugly on the street like the concrete barriers they saw on Burrard Bridge and the Dunsmuir Viaduct. Thus the poured concrete curbs with planters.

Apparently those curbs can be chipped off with a backhoe in no time at all, while the planters, which are all plastic, can always be picked up and moved anywhere else they’re needed.

One question answered. Several dozen more to go.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Richard

    @Morven

    For the same reason why drivers and pedestrians use the Granville Bridge, because it is more convenient for many trips.

    I am puzzled why you think people on bicycles should be forced to go kilometres out of their way to find safe facilities.

  • pacpost

    Hi Ian,

    “Is there data to reflect that? Can you point me to it?”

    Since you accept city data, here you go:

    http://vancouver.ca/projects/burrard/statistics.htm

    “Findings from a University of British Columbia cycling safety study indicate that accident rates for cyclists on the Burrard Bridge have decreased. In a twenty week period during the summer of 2008, four cyclists were injured on the bridge severely enough to attend Emergency at Saint Paul’s or Vancouver General Hospital. Two of these incidents involved collisions between cyclists and pedestrians with cyclists falling into the roadway. In the same twenty week period in 2009, since the re-configuration of the bridge, the number of cycling trips was up over 20% , but only one cyclist attended Emergency.”

  • pacpost

    @ IanS

    Quick follow-up: the same website states also:

    “Between July 13, 2009 and July 12, 2010, 24% more bicycle trips were made over the bridge than would have been made had the reconfiguration not happened. This amounts to an additional 200, 000 bike trips in one year.

    In addition, certain periods have seen even more dramatic growth:

    “Growth on summer and fall weekends has been the most dramatic, with volumes up 40-70%.”

  • gmgw

    @ Richard:
    The assorted dangers faced by cyclists who use the Granville bridge roadway is undoubtedly the reason why so many of them– I would venture to say the majority– use the bridge’s sidewalks. This may be against the law, but given that that law is never enforced on the bridge (at least not to my knowledge), it’s small wonder that only the most experienced or perhaps the most foolhardy opt for the roadway. Given the narrowness of the bridge’s sidewalks, this inevitably creates an additional hazard for pedestrians, especially on the long southern slope of the bridge. I have lost count of the number of times I have been walking, even right against the bridge railing, when suddenly, with no audible warning, a cyclist will pass within a foot of me at a fearsome speed, taking advantage of the long down-slope to coast. Such an encounter is never less than startling and is occasionally terrifying for the unprepared or uncentered pedestrian. There used to be a regular poster in this forum, a hyper-aggressive (by his own admission) cyclist who would brag about deliberately brushing pedestrians back to their proper side of the wide sidewalks on the Burrard bridge (this was before the cycle lane was installed) by passing perilously close to them. The fact that this practice potentially placed the lives of both cyclist and pedestrian in jeopardy appeared to be lost on him. I suspect that some of the more aggressive cyclists on the Granville bridge occasionally engage in the same practice. I do know that when a speeding cyclist passes me from behind without warning, close enough to brush against the sleeve of my jacket, he/she is too damn close.

    There is simply no room for such hijinks on the much narrower sidewalks of the Granville bridge, nor is there room for separate bicycle and pedestrian lanes. If the creation of bike lanes on the bridge roadway would mean that cyclist and walker no longer would travel in such close and dangerous proximity, I’m all in favour of it. I would point out, though, that when buses– (and there are innumerably more buses and large trucks crossing the Granville bridge than on the Burrard)– are re-routed down Seymour rather than Granville, as has been happening since the Olympics on Friday and Saturday nights because of the street closures in the so-called entertainment district, those buses– the trolleys, at least– are required to move to the curb lane before they have even reached the mid-span. How this practice would permit the creation of a dedicated bike lane on the bridge is difficult to envision. And this is just one of the more obvious challenges that would have to be met.

    One thing is certain– something must be done, and done soon. Walking across the Granville bridge ought not to be a life-endangering experience.
    gmgw

  • IanS

    @Pacpost 52 and 53,

    I was referring to data, not summaries or characterizations presented by the City or by others. Pretty much every time I’ve had an opportunity to review the actual data, as opposed to descriptions of that data, I’ve discovered the description to be untrue or misleading.

    (That includes the original Province report on the ICBC data, as Spartikus demonstrated.)

    Hence, AFAIK, the only data available for review reflecting safety on the bridge since installation of the bike lanes remains the ICBC data. If you are aware of the source of the data which the City relied upon in stating the conclusions you cite, please point me to it.

    As for cycle numbers, look at the data, not the conclusions posted by the City. If you look at the actual numbers, which the City has made available, you’ll see they represent an increase of 13.8% from before / after installation of the separated bike lane.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    “If you are aware of the source of the data which the City relied upon in stating the conclusions you cite, please point me to it.”

    http://www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/

  • spartikus

    I’m not sure how we got from fixing the Granville Bridge to make it safer for pedestrians to talking about a bike lane there, but IMHO the Granville Bridge is not a good fit for one.

    From what I’ve read the cycling volume is miniscule on it compared to the other bridges, and there are no feeder lanes serving it, again unlike Burrard, Cambie and Dunsmuir.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • spartikus

    [Caution: Humour] Forget bike helmets. Try the new Swedish-designed airbag for your head.

  • IanS

    @ Chris Keam #56,

    Thanks for the link, Chris. That’s an interesting site. However, I was unable to find the data relating to the separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge. I’m probably just not seeing it. If you could direct me to the data on that page, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  • IanS

    @Spartikus #58:

    LOL. Nice find.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam
  • Ternes

    @gmgw:

    My experience is the same in regard to cyclists on the sidewalk of the granville bridge: it’s very common and pretty scary at times. Especially on the offramps where the sidewalk is just ridiculously narrow.

    To be fair to cyclists I agree that biking along the roadside of the bridge looks pretty horrifying and I’m sure dodging around pedestrians on the sidewalk isn’t much fun either. The idea of a bike-pedestrian collision with there being literally nothing between you and the traffic whipping by at 70-80kph is not a pleasant one for any involved.

  • IanS

    @ Chris Keam #61,

    My apologies for being slow here, but this is what I see at the bottom of the page you linked:

    “presentations, posters, reports

    Preliminary classification of the first 300 injury events presented at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians conference in Montreal, June 2010. Also summarized in an article in the Globe and Mail.”

    The “preliminary classification” refers to accidents in Vancouver and Toronto between May and December 2008. This has nothing to do with the Burrard Bridge bike lanes.

    “Evidence review of the health benefits and risks of active transportation published by the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health.”

    The “evidence review” reports on the health benefits of increased physical activity. Nothing to do with the Burrard Bridge bile lanes.

    “Article in Momentum Magazine and media release about the launch of this study.”

    No data there. In fact, the “media release” is dated June 2008, and does not appear to be directed at, or even contemplate, the separated bike lane installed in 2009.

    “Outline of the BICE study presented at the 7th International Conference on Urban Health in Vancouver, October 29-31, 2008: Methods for studying bicyclists’ injuries and the cycling environment .”

    As is plain from the date of the presentation, this outline has nothing to do with the bike lane, as it occurred in October 2008 and the bike lane was installed in July 2009.

    “Data on cycling injuries on the Burrard Street Bridge from the BICE Study reported on CBC News, Metro News and The Georgia Straight.”

    Here at least we have reference to the bike lane, but no data, just links to newspaper reports. As Spartikus recently demonstrated in respect of the Province story on the ICBC data, newspaper reports can be misleading.

    Further:

    – the CBC News article is not available
    – the Metro News Article is dated May 2009, ie. before installation of the separated bike lane
    – the Georgia Straight article is dated May 2009, ie. before installation of the separated bike lanes

    Obviously, none of those articles can reference data relating to the bike lanes, as they had not yet been installed.

    “The BICE Study featured in the Vancouver Sun and UBC Reports.”

    The UBC Report linked predates the installation of the separated bike lanes and the Vancouver Sun article is no longer available.

    If I’ve missed the data relating to the separated bike lane, please let me know. However, based on my review of the link provided, I remain of the view that the only data available concerning safety on the Burrard Bridge since installation of the separated bike lane is the ICBC data referenced above.

  • MB

    @ gmgw

    From an Administrative Report from Oct 1st 2002 to Council:

    >> G1 Mid-Level Crossing – Options 1 &2

    >> Council asked staff to further explore Option G1 and bring back a feasibility assessment. This option has been further developed with staff and the consultant and is shown as Options 1 & 2 in the attached study.

    >> It was found that the cyclists and pedestrian ramp connections proposed by the G1 Option at each end are difficult to achieve due to cost, alignment and urban design issues. The Granville Bridge lower truss over Granville Island and north of False Creek is not as robust as the main span truss over the creek and therefore is not suitable to support a suspended walkway, as per the G1 proposal. Consequently, a cyclist/pedestrian ramp over Granville Island would require column supports throughout the Island. This would result in the loss of parking, greatly reduce future development potential and have shadowing impacts on the island. Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation have indicated that they would not support this component of Option G1, though they are in general support of the other concepts discussed here. Similar issues make the extend ramps north of the creek also less desirable.

    >> As shown as Options 1 and 2 in the attached study, the modified proposal for G1 is to use stairs and an elevator to get users from grade to either a mid level crossing supported by the main span truss or up to the existing sidewalk. A 3 metre wide shared walkway could be supported by the truss to allow users to walk or ride approximately 90 feet above False Creek. G1 included a 6 metre walkway and it has been determined that this could not be supported on one side of the bridge without local and global upgrades to the structure and is not practical, while 3 metre is achievable with no upgrades required globally or locally.

    >> Options 1 and 2 are attractive because they give users an unparalleled experience by allowing them to cross at a very high level (approximately 90 feet), see the inner workings of the bridge and remain separate from the vehicles on the upper deck. Users would have the option of using the staircase to climb the 75 feet and cross, or use the elevators, which would stop at the mid-crossing level. This scenario also has the ability to take users between gradeand the bridge deck so all users have the option to be where they feel most comfortable.

    >> The drawback to this option would be gauging the potential usage. While some users may enjoy the experience and this may become a very popular “Urban Grouse Grind”, others may feel too exposed due to the height. Potential users may also perceive that because it is out of sight of the traffic it may be less safe if one were accosted or injured. Staff feel that these issues need to be discussed further with potential user groups and stakeholders prior to proceeding.

    >> While this option provides access to walkers, disabled users and recreational cyclists, it would be less attractive to commuter cyclists due to the need to use elevators or stairs.

    >> Deck Level Improvements for Commuter Cyclists

    >> Through all of the major interventions we reviewed on Granville Bridge related to the mid-level suspended G1 option staff and the consultant were not able to find a strong upgrade for commuter cyclists. Therefore, staff are proceeding with developing deck level options, as endorsed by Council March 26, 2002.

    >> ariations being considered include bike lanes or wider shared sidewalks similar to the east sidewalk on Cambie Bridge.

    >> CONCLUSION

    >> The False Creek Crossing Study has concluded that pedestrian and cyclist improvements are necessary on Granville Bridge and this most recent study has narrowed down those options and shown that they are feasible and could serve the City well.

    >> Therefore, staff recommend pursuing funding opportunities and further input from stakeholders before a final design is recommended to Council.

    http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/021001/a8.htm
    ============

    I’m running short of time and cannot pursue what became of the request for funding.

    Over to you.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    Hi Ian:

    In your original post you asked about the city’s comments on Burrard Bridge safety. The link I provided is the place where they got their information.

    If the link is broken or otherwise doesn’t provide you with the info you’re looking for, then that’s a separate issue I guess. You might get in touch with the Cycling in Cities people directly to see if there’s somewhere you can find the data you’re looking for.

  • MB

    @ Julia 43.

    You are taking an expenditure that will consume less than 1/300th of Vancouver’s annual budget and conflating it into a major debate on the business vs. residential tax split.

    Your comments tell me that you do not own a residence in Vancouver, and therefore do not pay residential taxes which have seen annual increases for several years now based on a foundation of hyper property values.

    But you obviously do own a business, or are involved in the business community organizations, and are therefore biased in that direction. This view has had an influence on at least two Councils so far and as the direct result the tax split is shifting in your direction.

    Obviously that is not enough for you, and I suggest the topic of bike lanes is not an appropriately expanded forum for a discussion on municipal taxes.

  • IanS

    @ Chris Keam #75,

    Hi Chris.

    You wrote:

    “In your original post you asked about the city’s comments on Burrard Bridge safety. The link I provided is the place where they got their information.”

    Fair enough. I misread your response as an assertion that the data was available on the website. My mistake.

    “If the link is broken or otherwise doesn’t provide you with the info you’re looking for, then that’s a separate issue I guess.”

    Nope, as you pointed out, you answered my question.

    So, as matters stand then (to switch gears and complete my response to Pacpost), there is no data available which indicates that the separated bike lanes have resulted in increased safety for anyone.

    The only data available is that from ICBC, which, as discussed, shows a two or three month spike in accidents at the north end of the bridge, followed by a decrease to pre-bike lane levels.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    Ian:

    “So, as matters stand then (to switch gears and complete my response to Pacpost), there is no data available which indicates that the separated bike lanes have resulted in increased safety for anyone. ”

    Have you contacted the Cycling in Cities people or ICBC, or health/medical authorities to determine if that is actually the case, or whether getting that data is possible? I recall a poster (DonB?) who shared some additional information regarding cycling injuries in the area a while back.

  • pacpost

    Hi IanS,

    Since you seem to be incredibly keen on getting data (and aren’t happy with the CoV’s summary of UBC data on cycling injuries), how about you contact the cycling safety study coordinator at UBC yourself:

    http://www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/contact.html

    Kay’s the one quoted in the Straight on numbers of cycling injuries in 2008. I’m sure she’ll have the numbers you are looking for from 2009 (and maybe even 2010).

    If that doesn’t make you happy, I’m afraid nothing will.

  • pacpost

    Whoops, took too long to post. ;-)

  • Sean

    @MB #66
    “Your comments tell me that you do not own a residence in Vancouver, and therefore do not pay residential taxes which have seen annual increases for several years now based on a foundation of hyper property values.”

    To correct a frequent misconception – property tax increases are NOT caused by increases in property values – they are caused by increases in the city budget. The budget is determined FIRST, then the amount is apportioned over all city properties based on their property value.

    If the value of your property increases at the SAME RATE as the average Vancouver property, your property tax will NOT increase unless the city budget increases (except that taxes on commercial properties are being reapportioned to residential, but that is also independent of property value increases).

  • IanS

    @pacpost #69,

    I’m not expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the availability of the data. I’m merely stating a fact, ie. there’s no data publically available (AFAIK) which indicates that the separated bike lanes on Burrard Bridge have resulted in improved safety. That’s all I’m saying.

    If you chose to believe that the bike lanes have increased safety, you are, of course, free to do so. All I’m saying is that there’s no data to support that conclusion.

  • Higgins

    Forzza azzura!
    I love that picture, man! The guy in the foreground holding the spade, with the Italian flag printed on the sleeve of his T-shirt could be mistaken for working in Florence or Naples, no problemo. Cosa vuoi? Priceless.

  • pacpost

    @ IanS.

    (snort)

    As Mozart famously composed: “Leck mich am arsch!”

  • http://twitter.com/MarkAllerton Mark Allerton

    @IanS: define “publically (sic) available”

    The “data” for the safety of cyclists on the bridge is a single measure – the number of ER visits from cyclists injured on the bridge. This number is very much publicly available as the city has given it out over and over. You’ve also been told who the source of the information is and how to contact them to confirm.

    So I think we have to ask what it is you mean in addition. Do you want times, dates, description, names and addresses, signatures of the victims, DNA samples?

    Then once you’re satisfied, we can move on to you damning the progress with faint praise.

  • IanS

    @Mark Allerton #75,

    I’m talking about data I can look at and assess for myself. The usage data posted by the City for Burrard Bridge is a good example. Or the ICBC data for accident rates.

    In my experience, numbers provided by politicians and, often, newspapers are frequently misleading and inaccurate. The various statements made by politicians relating to the separated bike lanes are no different. Remember the reported increase from 500 cycle trips / day to 1500 cycle trips / day on Dunsmuir that turned out to be not quite right?

    And if don’t believe me because you don’t like what I’m saying, ask Spartikus about how his investigation of the actual ICBC data shed a very different light on the Province story about accident rates on the bridge.

    As for trying to ferret out data from sources, I have no interest in doing so. I’m prepared to assess the separated bike lane trial on the basis of the facts, but I see no need to try to knock loose the data myself.

    If someone is making a positive assertion, such as “the bike lane has increased safety on the bridge”, they have the burden of pointing to some data which support their assertion. In this case, there is none. That’s all I’m saying.

    As I indicated to Pacpost, he (and anyone else, for that matter) is free to believe what he wants to believe. For all I know, the separated bike lane has increased safety overall on the bridge. I don’t know that it has or hasn’t. To date, AFAIK, there is no data available on which to draw a conclusion, so I’m reserving my opinion.

  • http://www.chriskeam.com Chris Keam

    “As for trying to ferret out data from sources, I have no interest in doing so. I’m prepared to assess the separated bike lane trial on the basis of the facts, but I see no need to try to knock loose the data myself. ”

    That’s what I find problematic Ian. These online conversations are a bit like a potluck dinner in my opinion. We all (hopefully) bring a little something to the table and share in the work of finding information to discuss. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect you to do a little digging on a topic that’s obviously of interest to you. To turn your own argument around, how do you know there’s no data available until you ask the people who are collecting the data if you can find out more? You’ve essentially violated your own precept of drawing a conclusion prematurely.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkAllerton Mark Allerton

    @IanS: I note that despite writing 273 words repeating things you’ve said previously, you’ve managed to completely avoid saying anything about what would constitute good data *in this case*.

    So what would constitute good data in this case, over and above the information you have already been presented with?

  • IanS

    @Chris Keam #77,

    You write:

    “That’s what I find problematic Ian. These online conversations are a bit like a potluck dinner in my opinion. We all (hopefully) bring a little something to the table and share in the work of finding information to discuss.”

    FWIW, and perhaps I flatter myself here, I think I do bring a “little something to the table”. I (try to, at least) assess the data that is available and express an objective assessment of that data. (Surprisingly, that seems to constitute a controversial approach on this topic.)

    To the extent I express any assertion or opinion, I do so on the basis of that data. Where someone else makes an assertion in the absence of data, I point that out.

    My apologies if I’m not doing enough work to provide a sufficiently substantive contribution to the discussion. I do what I can.

    @Mark Allerton #78,

    I never made reference to “good data”. That’s your invention.

    As for the meaning of “data”, I’m surprised that this is necessary, but http://www.dictionary.com offers the following:

    da·ta
       /ˈdeɪtə, ˈdætə, ˈdɑtə/ Show Spelled[dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh] Show IPA
    –noun
    1. a pl. of datum.
    2. (used with a plural verb) individual facts, statistics, or items of information: These data represent the results of our analyses. Data are entered by terminal for immediate processing by the computer.
    3. (used with a singular verb) a body of facts; information: Additional data is available from the president of the firm.

    In the context of the present case, I’d point to the City’s data on bike / car / pedestrian use on the Burrard Bridge as an example of “data” in this context.

    I hope that helps, because I don’t think I can be any clearer on this.

  • Jason King

    Give up IanS…..I know you’re a sane man, without a set opinion on the lanes, and are just asking some questions, however…..

    Unless you’re:

    a) 110% supportive of the bike lanes and do nothing but praise them, you’re going to get attacked

    b) the onus is on you to come up with any and all data, regardless if you’re just making a suggestion or asking a question. The thought that you would dare question the accuracy of reports, that may lead someone to in anyway think the bike lanes aren’t wonderful, is sacrilegious.

    c) You must dedicate all your free time to finding data, analyzing data, and investigating any and all comments or suggestions that are not 110% in support of the bike lanes. It doesn’t matter if you have a life, or are merely asking a question…you have dared to question the bike lanes, and therefore you better have any and all data available to justify your question.

    d) In the event that you do all of the above, and the data provided proves in anyway to shed negative light on the lanes, you will either be ignored, or the relevance of the data will be questioned.

    Give up now IanS…you can’t win…you’ll continue to fall down this rabbit hole until you begin to question your own sanity.

    Sincerely,

    “A member of Bike lane questioning anonymous”
    P.S. No need to go on the attack Chris, Mark, Pacpost….just dropping in quickly to save a poor, rational man from any further pain.

  • pacpost

    @ IanS

    “I do what I can.”

    Which is: strictly nothing.

    You are not actually interested in data. Neither are you actually interested in learning. You simply wish to make the cheapest of debating points. Hence my crude rebuke.

    @ JK

    “You must dedicate all your free time to finding data, analyzing data, and investigating any and all comments or suggestions”

    Writing one email does seem like ever so much work. Positively Sisyphean in scope.

    Anyway, ride on Tonto. Your hyperbolic posts do humour me.

  • IanS

    @pacpost #81,

    You write:

    “You are not actually interested in data. Neither are you actually interested in learning. You simply wish to make the cheapest of debating points. ”

    Well, we shall have to agree to disagree on this point, I’m afraid. I’m sorry you feel this way, but, in my experience, by the time one party resorts to posts such as yours, the discussion is pretty much over.

    And as for:

    “Hence my crude rebuke.”

    I kind of enjoyed your rebuke… cultured and crude at the same time.

  • pacpost

    @ IanS

    “the discussion is pretty much over.”

    Had I been aware of your antipathy towards learning when I tried (sincerely) to help you with your search for data, I’d have known the discussion was over before it began.

    However, I’ve only been reading Bula’s blog for a few weeks, and was unaware of this trait of yours. Now I am.

    Mein letzter wort: “Wer seinen Fehler nicht erkennt, kann ihn nicht verbessern.”

  • Veronica

    With respect to the Hornby Bike lane, and all of the others that the current Mayor has installed in rapid order, I would like to know two things, 1) Who is counting the number of cyclists that are using each of these lanes over the course of the entire 12 months and 2) when are we going to see the related licencing and accountability of the cyclist, as shown in other countries that have these initiatives. In Britain for example, NOBODY rides a bicycle without a licence, (not even a child)!

  • bint

    The entire Hornby bike lanes cost the same amount as the 2 new left hand turn lanes that are being installed on Knight Street. The bike lanes costs a fraction of the road costs for Vancouver.
    Please consult the City for cost comparisons and work from facts. It makes for a better conversation. It seems that whenever something is done to keep cyclists safe its too much, but whenever something is done for all the traffic – much of it one person per vehicle, no one thinks to ask how much that costs. Comparisons based on facts is the only way people can learn and be informed whatever conclusion they then want to draw from it all.

  • bint

    Hi again, I just read a few more posts regarding the safety of riding bikes on Burrard Bridge and what the lanes do..

    It may go unnoticed but to me the real problem with riding across Burrard Bridge before the new bike lanes were installed came down to the height of the sidewalks which sit a solid foot – if not more, above the car lanes. Before the bike lanes were installed, it was quite scary when you passing a pedestrian (and if they swerved) and worse if they walking and talking with someone. If the cyclist had to swerve off the sidewalk there was no way most cyclists could squarely land on their wheels – and even if they did, could some of the traffice see this happening in time and swerve or stop in time? For me, and I’m somewhat athletic and an experienced cyclist (correct, I’m not a mtn biker), I would not land properly and I would definately fall. With the speed of traffic on the bridge I doubt the driver could easily avoid hitting me or, another car if he/she actually did have time to swerve.
    If you wonder about bells, sometimes when you give a warning ring, a pedestrian will actually take up more room as they turn out to turnaround and see you, OR, immediately heads onto the otherside witihout looking and end up directly in your path. So, depending on the width of path/sidewalk, you have to quickly decide to navigate around a wandering pedestrian, or not ring at all.
    Blocking up the sidewalk with a barrier also unfortunately does not leave enought room for both pedestrians and cyclists: see bell reactions above. thx!