Why are separated bike lanes so controversial?

Post by Mike Klassen in

120 comments

Critical Mass
Critical Mass is now the 2nd most controversial local cycling issue – photo: ItzaFineDay

Vancouverites who either support or disagree with how the Hornby Street separated bike lane trial has been implemented have been locked in a heated debate for weeks. But did you know that the very same controversy over bike lanes has been raging simultaneously in several other cities? Places such as New York City, Winnipeg, Denver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston and even Copenhagen (!) have bike lane advocates pitted against critics.

It begs a simple question – why?

It used to be that Critical Mass, the quasi-anarchistic cycling movement which takes over thoroughfares on the last Friday of each month that even future Mayor Gregor Robertson (seen above on the right in June 2007) participated in, caused the most controversy around bikes. But it's taking a back seat to the unhappiness lately stirred up by the Hornby bike lane trial. And somehow during this term of government what has been a positive issue that has caused little public controversy – the growth of city-built bike infrastructure – has become a issue which divides the city.

We're not alone though. Let's look at some other cities where cycle path controversies have heated up:

  1. In Winnipeg bike lanes have become such a heated issue that it threatens Mayor Sam Katz re-election chances (Winnipeggers go to the polls today, and CityCaucus.com has endorsed Katz for re-election). CBC National did a good story on it that you can view here (choose the "Battle over bike lanes" in the right column links). Further coverage from Canoe TV is here.
  2. In Brooklyn, New York, placard-waving citizens are confronting separated bike lane supporters. Seniors argue that it threatens their safety. Advocates say it allows them to ride during evening hours. Politicians are getting an earful from angry residents, some who argue the character of their streets have changed for the worse.
  3. In another New York neighbourhood a 14-block painted bike lane was removed after complaints by orthodox members of a religious community who didn't like the appearance of bare shoulders and spandex on their streets.
  4. In Toronto, Rob Ford successfully campaigned against more bike lanes that he argued would create more congestion.
  5. In Denver a local congressman viewed the bike lanes as a signal of a New World Order.
  6. In Melbourne cycle tracks are resented by some for reducing space for cars.
  7. In Boston, someone created a super hero character called Biker Boy to help drivers and cyclists to get along better.
  8. In Los Angeles a near-fatal cycling accident with a taxi-cab turned Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa into a cycle path convert.

We even hear that in Copenhagen, the city of bikes, an urban route adjacent to businesses has lately caused many merchants to be irate. It's most likely though that the Danes will quickly adjust. After all, their city is the model for the world on this matter.

There are many urban cycling success stories, of course, such as Montréal. London's conservative and thoroughly charming Mayor Boris Johnson is bragging that his is a cycling city. And the bikes for hire scheme Johnson promoted so far looks to be a success.

But why has there been so much aggravation both here in Vancouver and abroad? I asked SFU's Gord Price, urbanist, former city councillor and perhaps the most vocal proponent of Vancouver's "seawall to seawall" cycle track for his thoughts on why all the controversy. Not surprisingly, he's been giving it plenty of thought.

Many assumed that building a separated bike track through downtown would be easy. The Burrard Bridge lane closure seemed to go over well, and the ruckus over the Dunsmuir separated bike path eventually petered out after adjustments to right turns were made.

On Hornby Street, however, the Vision city council appeared to be over-confident. City Hall sources said the work would begin promptly after council began their summer break in early August. Work plans were supposedly readied, and overtime for crews budgeted. But then somebody spoke the "C" word – consultation. That's when things ground to a halt, and gestures were made in the dead of summer to prove that the Vision council was listening.

In the end council formally approved the bike lane construction, and crews with noise by-law exemption permits in hand, pounced. Lane construction is underway with the predictable disruption for businesses (some reporting as much as an 80% loss of sales), their customers, local residents and commuters. We'll know sometime next year whether this "trial" bike lane works or not.

Price thinks that the Hornby lane might succeed because, he argues, Vancouver's engineers are "engaged" and want to make it work. "I was a member of council during the ill-fated 1996 Burrard Bridge lane closure," says Price. "While I don't think all of us – council and staff – gave it time to make it work, I think that's changed today. It's clear to me that our city engineers are coming up with the best solutions they can."

Gord recalled the huge battles over traffic calming that first took place in the 1980s that make the anger over Hornby Street look like kid's play. The West End and Shaughnessy both rose up against traffic calming. "There is no one today who would reverse any of it," comments Price.

As an NPA city councillor, Price was a part of the City Hall governments that chose to make Vancouver into a place that put pedestrians, cyclists and rapid transit ahead of single-occupancy vehicles. While Vision Vancouver aligns itself with the cycling lobbyists today, it was only three years ago that the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition was heaping praise on the NPA for adding hundreds of kilometres of bike route infrastructure...

A city report shows the number of routes designated for bicycle traffic are expected to jump by 62.7 kilometres during 2007, bringing the city total to 240.5 kilometres from the 177.8 that existed at the end of 2006.

"It's a wonderful thing," said John Fair, president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition. "Anything that makes it safe to bike is a wonderful thing," he added, saying the City of Vancouver is very supportive of cycling.

"I believe it was the seawall that prepared the city for the downtown bike tracks," says Price. "It amazes me that we paved the shorefronts in our parks and never heard a peep. People couldn't wait to be able to ride their bikes all around Stanley Park and around False Creek."

cycle-crashes-burrard-pacific

The switch to "bike tracks," as Gord calls them, comes with some new responsibilities for cyclists. "Riders must learn to ride in groups. It's a concept that I learned the hard way. While riding one of these lanes in Montréal I took a sudden turn and someone crashed into me," Price recalls. "Bike tracks are a new paradigm, and I think that our next step should be to educate riders on how to use these lanes."

Anecdotally, we're hearing of a few accidents happening in relation to the separated track, perhaps as a result of the new 'rules of the road' for cyclists. Where accidents have appeared to increase is those involving cars navigating the Burrard & Pacific intersection. (Note, we are correcting an earlier interpreted this data as an increase in cyclist-only accidents) An ICBC accident report (2005-2010) sent to CityCaucus.com confirms this – click image for larger. In time riders will learn the new rules of the road.

So why the backlash? Price says it's a combination of factors.

"First, you're taking away physical space from people and understandably they don't like that," observes Price. "It's rare when the City comes into a neighbourhood and says 'we're here to change your community'. But when they do you can be sure people will be vocal. I think we're seeing that phenomenon."

"There are those who perceive this as a kind of social engineering, which of course causes some people to be upset. I have another theory that there is a sexual undercurrent to the strong feelings out there. I don't want to overstate this of course, but the car is a symbol of power. Some drivers might resent cyclists for the way they get around on their own steam."

Price says the fact the cycling lobby was for years considered as a fringe group that many underestimated their influence. As we know they have employed more sophisticated media strategies to get their message out. My colleague Daniel Fontaine explored this in his post about the VACC's PR handbook. Today, these one-time "fringe" groups are well-funded, organized and vocal.

Gord thinks that today's critics will eventually see the benefits of the lanes. "The downtown has several kinds of cyclists. There are the MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra), 'Fixies' who ride trendy fixed gear bikes, recreational cyclists and the 'eight to eighties', who are the very young and much older cyclists we don't see riding roads much today. Like the controversies around traffic calming before, users will most likely adapt," says Price.

It does seem strange though that these controversies have become so heated in so many corners of the globe at the same time. In Vancouver where there was once harmony around bikes there is friction. The Vision government are doing little to calm public concerns about the changes to their city, and letting the cycling advocates and critics duke it out in public. Perhaps that's what people will remember the most about this debate.

UPDATE: We've updated a line in the post which suggested that there have been more "crashes involving cyclists" at Burrard and Pacific. There have been a total of 15 crashes from 2005-2010 involving cyclists. There appears to have been an increase in vehicular accidents at that intersection in the past year.

- post by Mike

120 Comments

Is that Gregor in the photo (right)?

After Price's endorsement of the "click moment" at city council, this man has lost all credibility. When asked by a member of council (I believe it was Raymond Louie) if Price was in favour of two-way or one-way bike lanes, Price responded that even if the lanes were built for one-way traffic there will be people who use it as two-way, so it's best to build it that way.

Excuse me?! Just because people can't read a sign or don't care what it says, we have to lose EVEN MORE road space to accommodate them?!?!

I'm sorry, but laws are there to make a civilized society operate properly. People will use HOV lanes when they are the only one in the car. Does that mean we shouldn't put HOV lanes in? People will run red lights, does that mean we shouldn't have intersection signals?

The only person I despise more than Gordon Price (over this issue) is Gregor Robertson. Gregor needs to resign and Price needs to just go away.

I drove on Hornby on Monday, looking for an off street parking garage. The access had been closed. Had to find another less convenient garage. But if anyone falls for Gregor's promise of a trial period I suggest to not be so gullible. A whole lot of money is being spent on street modifications. Gregor has already determined the "test period" has been a success. It is permanent folks. Unless of course the voters wakeup and vote for a much more rational group of Councillors.

Correct term for a 'separated bike lane' is a 'sidepath'. Riding next to a roadway is dangerous practice, because it creates worse conflicts between cycles and motor traffic at every point of intersection. Turning and intersecting maneuvers cause most car-bike accidents for cyclists riding on roadways.

City of Copenhagen recently conducted a excellent study on safety effects of sidepaths. The result was that sidepath increase cyclist accident rate per mile cycled. Cyclist fatality rate more than tripled because of increase in right-hook type accidents.

Removing cyclists from the roadways is not the answer.

rf asked "Is that Gregor in the photo (right)?:

Yes it is, good job reading the story to miss that.

Bobh said

"I drove on Hornby on Monday, looking for an off street parking garage. The access had been closed. Had to find another less convenient garage"

Are you okay? Did you make it? Having to walk another 2, maybe even 3 blocks! Do you need counselling?

Really, what a none issue this is. It's a bike lane. Suck it up and stop whining. I think the bike people should start a list of business against the bike lanes so I know where not to shop.

If that is Gregor in the photo is there any wonder why enforcement of motor vehicle laws is non existent in Vancouver. He's riding with no helmet in the middle of the street with no hands. He looks so arrogant in the photo. The caption above his head should read "cycle on this you effin NPA hacks".

Can anyone confirm if that was Gregor in the photo? Wasn't he sent to the provincial legislature back in 2005 to make laws not break them?

You missed one Mike, Maple Ridge has passed a highway bylaw allowing cyclists to legally ride on the sidewalk.

It will be interesting to see if any lawsuits arise from pedestrian/cyclist accidents.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/tri_city_maple_ridge/mapleridgenews/news/104818534.html

lol @ James,

So arrogant! lol

How's the view from that horse?

Ryan,

Couldn't help notice all those die hard cyclists out and about yesterday...

I guess a little rain kept them indoors.

As etched into the cement along the Hornby bike lane barrier:

'The Mayor's Political Gravestone'

1. Yep, missed that.
2. Bite me.

@Kalle
This is exactly why the city has banned right hand turns at many of the intersections along the separated bike lanes. They are also using bike only signals at some of the intersections along Hornby to prevent conflicts between people on bikes and left turing vehicles.

As well, cyclists getting hit by drivers opening their doors in front of them is responsible for around 10% of all injuries to cyclists along bike routes. As not all bike routes require cyclists to ride next to parked cars, the injuries due to dooring on a route like Hornby where the entire lane was next to parked cars were probably higher than 10%. By removing much of the parking and by placing the bike lane on the passenger side of parked cars, injuries due to dooring will be reduced.

Separated bike lanes also decrease the number of people riding on sidewalks which is against the rules and can be dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. By having a two-way path on a one-way street, riding against the flow of traffic on the street will no longer be dangerous and illegal.

In addition, it has been proven that the more cyclists use a route, the safer it is as drivers come to expect cyclists and drive accordingly. On Dunsmuir, the traffic speed seems to be significantly reduced which also improves the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. If the same happens on Hornby, it will improve safety.

All and all, it is reasonable to expect that Hornby will be safer to cycle on and probably be safer for pedestrians and motorists as well.

Bike lanes are controversial because they remove road space allocated to cars and give it to cyclists. It is not surprising that some people who predominantly drive see this as an attack on their way of life. A more rational view might see that downtown doesn't have room to fit more cars, so you need to move people around with another means of transportation - walking, public transit, and cycling are better at handling larger volumes in dense environments. Which is why we see those are the modes of transport increasing in Vancouver (especially downtown) while car volumes drop. It is logical that infrastructure should encourage those trends - and the city is adding more transit options, wider sidewalks, and separated bike lanes. Not that I expect many people to put aside their emotions and think rationally about this.

I also think a lot of the controversy is stirred up by media who are looking for trouble. Remember all the fuss about the Burrard Bridge, even before the trial started (hello gregorsgridlock.com). There were more articles written about expected problems then real problems.

Chris:

Recent reports by ICBC show an increase in vehicle accidents at the north end of the Burrard Bridge since the bike lane has been introduced.

@Max - I encourage you to look at the detailed ICBC numbers. I did. And they show the number of accidents jumping during the summer of 2009, when drivers and cyclists were becoming accustomed to the new configuration. Since then they have returned to pre-bike lane numbers, with 2010 accident figures similar to 2005-2008 levels.

Now that Alex and his ilk have "boycotted" Citycaucus, we should be able to have a better, more sane discussion on this topic without the typical hysterical bleating.

I did not vote for Robertson or Vision, but I am not against bike lanes. Every big city has a cycling network, some large, some small. Vancouver has a lot of cyclists. It makes sense to have better and more bike lanes.

However, what I think a lot of people have objected to is not the bike lanes themselves, but the money being spent on so-called "trials" when the city is $20 million in the hole and the reckless spending just continues!

To make things worse, we have a mayor and council who takes the Critical Masshole approach of pitting "us" against "them," openly disrespecting and mocking those who disagree with their policies. Instead, a good mayor and council would do what Ian Robertson said in his speech at the NPA dinner: Build Consensus. Get people to buy into your ideas and see them as their own. That requires diplomacy skills that this mayor and council are completely lacking. Vision has NO interest in listening to anyone but their small core of activist supporters.

Ironically, the people who are against bike lanes that excoriated Suzanne Anton have championed Ian as the next Mayor of Vancouver, someone who (gasp) supports bike lanes! I wonder how they'll justify that.

What we want is a fiscally-responsible mayor and council that will thoughtfully consider the pros and cons of all their policies and listen to the public, then make decisions that benefit Vancouver as a whole. Right now we don't have this kind of city government.

Chris,

It's unfortunate that you and Gordon Price feel that drivers are responding to an attack on their masculinity/way of life, rather than them having actual concerns about the process, logic, expenditure, focus on cycling vs. transit, etc.

I don't remember many drivers complaining about an increase in transit, providing priority lanes for transit or giving priority to transit on the road. Doesn't that change our "way of life"...doesn't that conflict with the view that this is an attack on the car as a "power symbol" for some? How can we be absolutely for more money, priority, focus, etc. on transit if this is all about us railing against a change in our way of life?

Chris, this is about priorities, it's about an ideologically drive agenda vs. a practical one, it's about ensuring that we're thinking about business rather than ramming something down their throats.

On top of this, there is conflicting evidence that separated bike lanes a) increase safety or b) affect the number of cyclists on the road. These are the two points that cyclists hail as the reason we absolutely must build these lanes...but there is conflicting evidence on both points.

For point a, I submit the following study from Copenhagen:

http://www.trafitec.dk/pub/Road%20safety%20and%20percieved%20risk%20of%20cycle%20tracks%20and%20lanes%20in%20Copenhagen.pdf

For point b I submit:

Between the late 1980s and early 1990s the Netherlands spent 1.5 billion guilders (US$945 million) on cycling infrastructure, yet cycling levels stayed practically the same. When the flagship Delft Bicycle Route project was evaluated, the results were "not very positive: bicycle use had not increased, neither had the road safety. A route network of bicycle facilities has, apparently, no added value for bicycle use or road safety".

Furthermore, as this article so rightly states you didn't see any of this debate when the previous administrations built hundreds of kilometers of cycle lanes throughout the city. Why wasn't their an outcry at the assault on our "way of life" then?

At the end of the day Chris, I'm fine with the debate about whether we should or shouldn't build separated lanes...I think it's a worthwhile debate...but I get really tired of the derogatory "straw men" characterizations of those questioning their logic. As I've stated many times in the past, one can be pro-bike, pro-transit and anti-separated lanes. We're not all "Car loving, loss of masculinity fearing, bike haters"....you're a smart guy, you know that...so how about we drop the ignorant characterizations.

Jason,

Your request for civil discourse could also easily be applied the other way. I and others have been all too happily labeled liars, eco-socialists, socialists, fascists, left wing hippies, visionistas...do I need to go on?

A large reason these are controversial is simply political. Party x is doing it, therefore party y (and the supporters of party y) are raising a colossal stink about it. If party y had suggested it, it would be the same in reverse. You see this over and over. The current minister (or was)for gaming comes to mind when he stood up championing casinos yet when he was in opposition said they will kill babies.

Yes, the businesses do have issues, as do many other players. But rational discussion and problem solving are very unlikely in this polarized political climate because no matter how much party x changes the plan to accommodate pressures from the public and/or party y, it won't be enough. So party y condemns them for this and that, and the changes made go unnoticed.

This is about priorities. This government, for good or bad, was elected with an overwhelming majority based on their platform of priorities. They are acting on that. If the majority feel they are blowing it, we'll see that next November. In the meantime, this acrimonious atmosphere does nothing but turn the vast majority of people off politics leaving the screaming minority as the only voice. Sad state of affairs.

You're still not winning anyone over with this type of attitude. See: "...openly disrespecting and mocking those who disagree with their policies."

hahaha, boohoo are you Gregor Robertson? Your comment is a nicer way of saying that all of the complaints about this municipal council are coming from NPA hacks.

For your information, although I voted NPA in the past election, I have never been a member UNTIL after the last municipal elections.

I think this mayor and council came to power not because of a political ideology, I believe the made up scandal of the Olympic Village is what actually brought them in.

I'm also a supporter of bike lanes. But I'm not in favour of how this council goes about installing them. Let's call a spade a spade. Concrete and asphalt can not be called a "trial." The spin of this council is infuriating.

Municipal politics in this city have always been interesting, but at least most residents felt that the aim of all of the major candidates was the efficient delivery of municipal services.

With Vision Vancouver, everything is politically motivated. They are not consensus builders. They thrive on blaming everyone else for our problems. I personally can't wait for next November.

Chris,

As hard as this might be to believe, I HONESTLY do not have a dog in this fight. Yes, I liked Peter Ladner and voted for him...yes, I was not impressed with Gregor in the debates...but I can say, without any reservation that I was not "opposed" to Vision or Gregor until they started governing.

While I will readily admit that there are some in the debate who do have a political axe to grind, I would again ask you to recognize that there are some of us who honestly just want good governance, and don't care what party it comes from.

Gregor Robertson's actions have placed me in the "anyone but Gregor" camp...not any previous or current political association.

Paul,

That's a new one. I've been accused of being Ian Bassile (sp?), a covert Vision spy and now the mayor himself!

Your last paragraph is comical though Paul. Political motivations define ALL political parties, you're deluding yourself thinking the NPA or any other party would be any different.

Vision received 16.7% of the registered voters approval. If they consider that overwhelming mandate, they're living in Wonderland.

Thanks for the plug. "The Price is Wrong" to quote a famous movie line...Advancing cycling as an alternative transportation infrastructure is good. Militantly installing without consultation $25M worth of bike lanes when the City is running a $20M deficit and the Olympic Village is falling apart is NOT good. There is a time and place for everything...and for bike lanes right now is not the time nor the place.

@boohoo Good try boohoo. I like how you misspell Ian Baillie's name and naively say oooh, is this how you spell his name?

Makes it look like you are just some shy little commenter who doesn't know how to use Google to find out how to spell Ian's name. Boohoo who are yoo?? I suspect you are connected to Vision in ways we have yet to even expose.

Gerry,

Sadly, in that election, it was overwhelming. The voter turnout was underwhelming to say the least. I would hope if these politicians had to get out there and campaign on what they think and what they would do rather than the platform we see now of 'We're better than the alternative' you'd see greater voter turnout. We saw that in Calgary, I'm not sure what the numbers are like in Toronto, I will look.

Erin,

lol.

"Now that Alex and his ilk have "boycotted" Citycaucus, we should be able to have a better, more sane discussion on this topic without the typical hysterical bleating."

I couldn't have said it better myself Tundaleo. The air is a lot fresher here the last few days. No more swearing, shouting, screaming, name calling, false accusations, right wing rhetoric, anti-cycling bluster etc.

Let's hope they continue to boycott this site for at least a year or so. It would serve to bolster Alex's daily stats if his rightwing wacky readers stay over there.

you could look at a mouse and call it an elephant.

@Jason
So, you're not against losing lanes for public transit? If that's the case, let's build dedicated bus lanes - as far as I know there aren't any in Vancouver today. Suzanne Anton was on the radio this morning talking about overcrowded Broadway buses. Let's remove parking for the length of Broadway, put dedicated, strictly enforced bus-only lanes (like we had during the Olympics). That would speed up bus trips, increase throughput, and buy us some time before a UBC SkyTrain line can be built.

That is completely within the city's power, and yet I think if the city proposed it we'd be hearing some familiar voices (like Laura Jones) opposing it.

I don't drive a car.Never have.
I walk,take the bus, or timidly get on my bike.(wearing my helmet,and obeying the rules of the road)
Is the issue of bike lanes really an issue of anarchy?
Who can scream the loudest, flout the law the most (Critical Mass), aggravate the people the most?
Just wondering.

Chris have you ever taken transit along Broadway during rush hour? There is already no parking allowed there during peak periods.

This is not about needlessly infuriating small businesses, it's about building rapid transit to UBC. Apparently current traffic patterns (stop lights, congestion) mean you can't add any more buses on that route. The buses just won't go any faster.

PS Toronto had over 50% turnout. They also have a ward system which will tend to truncate Ford's ability to freewheel. I don't think Smitherman was well liked, and Ford ran a campaign with a clear, powerful-because-it-is-true fiscal message that he pounded home again and again. Vancouver's a very different cat from Toronto so to extrapolate what happened there to Vancouver won't be too helpful. Unfortunately, as you inferred in another thread our current party system was well summarized by Townshend "...Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss..."
Vancouver would benefit greatly from a mixed ward/at large system with eight of each and a mayor elected at large.
I'ts been fifty-six years since the Vancouver Charter was decreed into law and it is an outdated anachronistic document that is crying for a remake.
The recent Report on Local Government to be considered by the Legislature this spring takes a few baby steps towards election spending accountability for all municipalities, but it's more notable for what's left out of it. No recall, no limits on overall spending etc etc...

Maybe this isn't a transit issue, but a UBC student housing issue. While the university enriches itself with on-campus private housing developments, it students are left to make the Great Trek from the suburbs...

@Jay - Forget I mentioned parking. Just consider dedicating a lane exclusively for buses (potentially the curb lane). Or placing a light rail line down the middle of Broadway. How do you think people who drive that route would react?

I'm just wondering if people would support reallocating car infrastructure to transit, or is the reaction the same as when bike lanes are installed.

My theory is it is the removal of car space that generates the controversy. It has nothing to do with cycling or cost. If the Hornby lane didn't cost a cent or it was exclusively for buses instead of bikes, the arguments might change but the opposition would likely be similar.

Chris,

There has also been a bus only lane down Seymour for sometime now. I sometimes get caught in traffic and watch the bus blow on by me...and believe me, I don't mind!

I know your skeptical Chris but most of us honestly are in favor of promoting alternatives to the automobile... especially those that move large numbers of people.

I'm sceptical because the exact arguments being made against cycling in Vancouver are being made against bus lanes in other cities.

Check out this article from Berkley (hippy central of all places!) which is adding dedicated bus lanes downtown:
"John Caner, president of the Downtown Berkeley Association, made clear during public comment that while the DBA supported the growth of public transit, it was concerned about the loss of parking and left turns due to dedicated bus lanes on the four blocks of the BRT route on Shattuck Avenue between Addison and Bancroft."

sound familiar?

Can anyone tell me if these bike lanes get more people out of their cars or simply getting people out of the public transit system?
I would bet that the city is spending all this money and missing it's target.

As Chris said,"I don't drive a car.Never have."

So why isn't the bald headed goofball wearing his helmet as required by law.And the other idiot with no helmet and no hands on the hadle bars. Both good for a ticket.Never a cop around when there should be. And I can't see a horn or bell or other warning device that is also required by law.Sure be glad when they make thes go green nuts have to get a license and insurance.

Tunny,

I haven't boycotted any site, but thanks for caring that I haven't come around. Alex can call for what he wants, I have a mind of my own and will continue to do what I please.

Now why I haven't come around is because I've been busy running a business and frankly that takes priority.

As for your hope that my "ilk" has gone elsewhere, keep hoping...I'm not going anywhere and will continue to comment as I please.

If you don't like what I have to say, ignore me, because I promise to hammer away at the NPA until they start making better decisions, which you don't have the capability to comprehend.

Tootles for now.

Glen

Chris, the city had a trial bus-only lane on Broadway in 2007. Didn't provoke any adverse reaction from motorists. In fact, it caused so little controversy that you don't even know that it happened :-)

See this report from the Vancouver Sun:

http://tinyurl.com/23crbth


Further to the accident statistics, what happened at the intersections of Thurlow and Pacific and at Hornby and Pacific is also relevant, is there any chance of getting those as well?

@ Jason

1) You wrote: "When the flagship Delft Bicycle Route project was evaluated, the results were "not very positive: bicycle use had not increased, neither had the road safety."

Not sure where you're getting your quote from (no website listed), but here's another assessment of the Delft Bicycle Network which directly refutes your claim:

"The average number of bicycle trips has increased by 10% from 25,000 to 28,000. The distance travelled by bicycle increased from 6 to 8% (depending on the type of trip)."

http://www.eaue.de/winuwd/78.htm

2) You also wrote: "Furthermore, as this article so rightly states you didn't see any of this debate when the previous administrations built hundreds of kilometers of cycle lanes throughout the city."

There's a difference between painting a symbol of a bicycle on asphalt and calling it a bicycle lane, and then actually providing proper, separated bicycling infrastructure.

The second requires more effort and money, but also results in a real improvement to cycling safety and cycling numbers.

3) Finally, regarding your argument that separated cycling infrastructure is the wrong way to go, please view these Dutch statistics and assessments:

http://velomondial.blogspot.com/2010/05/lies-big-lies-and-then-you-have.html

http://www.fietsberaad.nl/index.cfm?section=repository&repository=Misconceptions+concerning+separate+bike+paths

Chris,

Using example from other cities is kind of mute when you have countless examples to the contrary here in Vancouver. This city has proven to be fairly pro cyclist (hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes already without controversy up until now) and pro transit (priority lanes, increased transit...demands for more).

I think if the pro searated lane advocates took a small step back and looked at the opponents they are demonizing they might realize that they don't fit neatly into the stereotypes they like to portray....they might also recognize that bike lanes weren't an issue until this administration made it one.

Again I say, one can be pro bike, pro transit and anti separated lane...it just makes the debate a little less black and white and therefore a lot more complicated for the pro side to argue against.

OMG Glen Beck is back. I thought you and your pal Alex were boycotting this site. I guess your a tad addicted. Hard to stay away isn't it? Especially when there are real people making real comments here.

What will Alex think of you being here? I hope he isn't too offended considering he's asked his legions of fans to boycott citycaucus. I'm sure he'll get over it soon.

One aspect is that drivers will view the dedication of a lane for a separated bike lane as an inefficient use of space - one that is inflexible in use.

Whereas a car lane can be shared by bikes and cars and they can freely move around, installing a concrete barrier and creating an exclusionary zone for the exclusibve use of one class of user screams of favouritism or elitism - to the detriment (via congestion) of other users of the roadway.

The criticism is further amplified if those users are perceived as not making highest and best use of that dedicated space - in the case of cyclists, there will be signficantly less bike traffic using the lane on rainy days as compared to sunny days. i.e. you deprive one class of user the right to use a space, and the beneficiary of that use doesn't make full use of it (i.e. on rainy snowy days).

The same dislike of dedicated bus HOV lanes may not arise because cars are allowed to enter them to execute right hand turns - so to some degree, the lanes are shared and are not as exclusionary as the separated bike lanes. In addition, buses are regularly scheduled, so people know that the lanes are being used, even if they don't see a line-up of buses at any one moment in time.

The separated bike lane issue can probably be most closely aligned with the dislike of HOV lanes on highways, where drivers who are stuck in gridlock argue for the dissolution of the HOV lane, becuase it is being "under-utilized".

Personally I don't think the issue is a dislike of cyclists - although a lot of people will try to politicize the issue as an "us" versus "them" debate - I think its more about favouritism (particularly without consultation).

People will adjust their daily routines (perhaps more drivers will shift to Granville Bridge) and the issue will eventually fall away.

When one-way streets in Downtown South were converted to two-way, people adjusted. When Granville Mall was created in the 1970s, people adjusted. In this case, Hornby will cease to be a major arterial funnelling traffic from Burrard Bridge to downtown. Traffic volumes may redistribute from Hornby St. to Burrard St. or to Granville Bridge.
Ultimately, people will adjust.


The Thought of The Evening

"I dedicate Critical Mass the song 'To all the...Bike Lanes I loved before'."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YoQbKWTNLo

Now, that we are separated and finally happy we can see each other again. Get it?

I WANT MY LANEY
How come that the first thing that comes to mind regarding these 'separated' bike lanes is...how come you can have Bikers using them, but no Skateboarders, Rollerbladers, Small scooters, Wheelchairs. What about unicycles and tricycles? Gregor, ahem, are they OK?

NOT ALL CELLPHONE PLANS ARE CREATED EQUAL
If two cyclists talking on their cell phones while sipping from their Cappuccinos,bump into each other and an Ambulance is called,does that mean that the car lane adjacent to the bike lane is going to be blocked for as long as the CPR is administered?

SMOKING WHEELS
You are not on a public patio. You are not on a public beach. Not even on city park property. Does that mean you can have a smoke on your ride to work? How about a joint? Is that legal? Would that be considered riding under influence?

BIKING ETIQUETTE
Say I am a man in my thirties. I weight 258 pounds, and I insist on wearing my Lycra bodysuit. Would that constitute 'indecent exposure' or could it be accepted as 'civic mooning'?
Say I am a woman in my thirties. Unattached but looking, 5ft10in, toned and tanned,what would be the standard cleavage showing?

BIKE LANE KILL
I ride over a skunk while on the dedicated bike lanes. Is the City going to reimburse me for my write-off 7 speed BMX? And do I have to carry 'bikekill' plastic bags with me,just like the approx. 20% of dog owners in the city of Vancouver?

BIKESLLANEOUS
May I wear perfume; all over my body, or only on the Hot Zones?
What's the legal drink and ride limit?
May I wear my Vision blinders and T-shirt on bike lanes other than on Hornby?

I think all the above are legit questions and concerns that should be addressed prior to opening of these lanes to the general public and...Geoff Meggs.

We live in Vancouver and this keep us busy.

Why are bike lanes controversial? Paris and Nantes, France and Seattle or San Francisco, all of which have some dedicated bike lanes, also have freeway systems that traverse the downtown.(Bikes are of course banned from freeways.) Even the Meca of bicyclists, Copenhagen, has a series of wide roads that run through the town centre.(Check it out on Google maps.)

Vancouver on the other hand made a decision in the early sixties to not have a freeway system. Instead, we added 5 million square feet of housing in Coal Harbour without adding any street capacity. To that add False Creek and Yaletown. It boils down to this: Vancouver lacks street capacity. Period!

If the City chose to put dedicated bike lanes almost anywhere but Hornby or Burrard streets it might have been tolerable. After all we blocked the streets in the West End years ago to through traffic forcing it to to Burrard, Granville, Hornby and Howe. Granville Street was blocked to through car traffic by Granville Mall.

The decision by the bike fashionistas to take out lanes of traffic and parking on the limited remaining through streets in the downtown brings to mind Marline Dietrich's warning: "Beware of trendiness. What looks good today will look ridiculous next year."

JB Baker

Thanks Ron,I think you've got it right.

...how come you can have Bikers using them, but no Skateboarders, Rollerbladers, Small scooters, Wheelchairs...unicycles and tricycles? Gregor, ahem, are they OK?

They are all OK, Gliss. Add shopping carts to the list and subtract tricycles and I've seen them all.

PacPost:

"In the 1990s, Louisse et al. (1994) reported the (second) evaluation of the Delft Bicycle Route Network. This city introduced many bicycle facilities in the 1980s. In 1994 the situation in Delft was again studied, and compared with the evaluation that took place a short time after introduction. There is more bicycle use in Delft than in other medium-sized towns, but this was also the case before the introduction of the bicycle route network. The conclusions in the evaluation study were not very positive: bicycle use had not increased, neither had the road safety. A route network of bicycle facilities apparently has no added value for bicycle use or road safety."

It's great that you found a quote saying that bicycle use had increased...especially given that the quote did not state over what period of time, the population increase during that time, etc.

The juries still out Pacpost...is cycling increasing in most North American cities? Yes. Would it happen with or without separated lanes? YES.

That's just one of the problems with this entire debate.

If there are more cyclists using the Dunsmiur lanes, is it because there are more cyclists or simply because cyclists have moved from adjoining streets to that one?

If the lane only increases "perceived" safety, but doesn't actually increase safety (or god forbid, decreases it) then is it truly a benefit?

The "trial" also has no benchmarks...at what point is it considered a success or failure? Gregor has stated he wants 10% of the Vancouver population commuting to work...a number most critics have said is probably ridiculous. If we don't get anywhere near that number, do we view it as a failure?

Despite arguments and statements to the contrary made by the bike lobby, the jury is still very much out on separated lanes.

And again, it looks to many of us that this is another "feel good" initiative by mayor moonbeam that doesn't actually accomplish anything...it just gives some the warm and fuzzies.

Chris:

I have seen the report and the numbers for July/August 2010 were up, not down and not leveled out over the same period in 2009.

Chris:

There was a dedicated bus lane that ran down Granville, from 70th.

The police would pull over and ticket cars needlesly using that lane.

It has been awhile so I am not sure if it is still active, or if it is gone due to the Canada Line.

So why isn't the bald headed goofball wearing his helmet as required by law.And the other idiot with no helmet and no hands on the hadle bars. Both good for a ticket.Never a cop around when there should be. And I can't see a horn or bell or other warning device that is also required by law.Sure be glad when they make thes go green nuts have to get a license and insurance. ...Barry

************

Barry, take a look at the 'idiot with no helmet and not hands on the handle bars'...

Does he look familiar.....maybe like the Mayor...LOL

PacPost:

"There's a difference between painting a symbol of a bicycle on asphalt and calling it a bicycle lane, and then actually providing proper, separated bicycling infrastructure."

Actually Pacpost, painting lines and symbols on the asphalt, to designate that it is to be used for bike traffic only IS a BIKE LANE...and pretty much every city you use as an example has an extensive BIKE LANE network.

In addition, you keep sending me to websites that or providing opinion, or opinion based on research (without actually linking to the research)...all, not surprisingly, pro bike. I can do the same, just from the other point of view:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities#cite_note-87

It doesn't make it fact. I am at least willing to admit that there are conflicting views on the benefits of separated bike lanes...where as you claim there is no argument.

In addition, the SWOV report that the website you referred me to makes mention of has a variety of conflicting reports in it regarding separated lanes, including this gem:

"What was a surprise, however, was that no bicycle facilities are needed to increase safety on road segments with less than 10,000 motor vehicles per 24 hours and driving speeds not exceeding 50 km/h. They even dared to extend this to 15,000 motor vehicles per 24 hours and driving speeds with a 85th percentile of 45 km/h. This deviates considerably from the Netherlands recommendations (CROW, 2006; figure 19 on p. 112)."

What the above is saying is that on roads where there are less than 15,000 motor vehicles per 24hrs you don't even need a bike lane (you know, the lines drawn on the asphalt), little lone a separated bicycle lane.

Now I'm going to ASSUME, that given that there are approx. 260,000 cars commuting in and out of downtown Vancouver every day, that Dunsmuir and Hornby exceed those numbers...but given that both already had a BIKE LANE already, I again question whether a separated lane will make a difference or was necessary.

But how about I pose a question to you PacPost...can you tell me what the benchmarks are, according to the Mayor and Council, for this "trial" to be considered a success. Please list the benchmarks so that we all have something to use as a guideline.

I'm more than willing to have an open mind on the pros/cons on the separated bike lanes...but only if those FOR the lanes are willing to provide me with some reasonable benchmarks for success/failure, with the agreement that if those benchmarks are NOT met, that the lanes will be removed.


While small businesses on Hornby go bankrupt or are forced at great expense to relocate.

@Jason

Here is some local research by UBC that makes a pretty compelling case for separated bike lanes.

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

This research found that 31% of the population in all of Metro Vancouver would likely cycle more if facilities were improved. I think the percentage is even higher for the City of Vancouver.

What was a bit surprising about the research is that even experienced cyclists preferred separated facilities.

Pretty much all cyclists found painted bike lanes along busy streets next to parked cars, like the old lanes on Hornby and Dunsmuir not very attractive at all.

The dramatic increase in the number of people cycling on Dunsmuir after the separated lanes were installed.

Gerry, it's easy to say that, is it true?

Gord Price, sex, bike lanes and Critical Mass. Alrighty now...flash quiz.
Question 1: Are concrete structures like the Burrard and the Elliott St barricades a: yonnic or b:phallic?
Question 2: Has anyone ever read or heard a cyclist describe cycling as empowering?
Question 3: Have you ever read or heard about aggressive testosterone-driven behavior towards motorists by participants in Critical Mass?
If you answered 1:a 2 and 3 Yes, you win a free toga and a postcard addressed to Gordon Price that says " It's the economy, sweetheart."

Richard, read the research and it does not state that 31% of the population would cycle more.

The overall sample was a cross section of the lower mainland area and not specific to Vancouver only.

However, this study first comissioned in 2008, was used by the City to propell their cause for separated bike lanes.

@Max

I said would likely cycle more. If you want to get really technical, the study does not state those exact words but essentially that is the implication or a logical conclusion to make. It defines the 31% as the near market for cycling and outlines motivators and deterrences to cycling. It stands to reason that as motivators like routes separated from traffic are increased, that levels of cycling will likely increase.

Richard,

Yes, I've read that study as well...it's one the "pro lanes" group pulls out a lot...and again you're using one aspect of that report to justify the separated lanes.

The question is "preferred" route types...guess what, if I'm asked whether I want to drive on a freeway vs. a beautiful country road, I'm going to say the "beautiful country road" every time. But guess what, I don't get to drive on those beautiful country roads very often, and yet it doesn't affect my overall driving habits one bit.

On top of that, the group surveyed were:
"adults in Metro Vancouver who identified themselves as regular, frequent, occasional, or potential cyclists."

Many of whom may NEVER choose to cycle downtown no matter what type of lanes you put in.

What are the top 10 "deterrents" in that report? Well, lets see:
* the route is snowy or icy
* the street has a lot of car, bus, or truck traffic
* the route has glass or debris
* vehicles drive faster than 50 km/h
* the risk from motorists who don't know how to drive safely near bicycles
* the risk of injury from car-bike collisions
* it is raining
* the route has surfaces that can be slick when wet or icy when cold
* the route is not well lit after dark
* I need to carry bulky or heavy items

Now is the separated bike lane addressing the vast majority of these complaints? NO, it isn't. It's still going to rain, snow, be slick, be icy, have cars driving fast, and people will still need to carry items...and risk of injury is VERY debatable given that the vast majority of accidents between cars and cyclists happen in intersections that still exist with separated lanes.

So I ask you, will the separated lanes get those people out to cycle in ANY significant number? I don't think you could possibly state they will from this report.

Finally, you state:

"The dramatic increase in the number of people cycling on Dunsmuir after the separated lanes were installed."

I actually don't think it's that dramatic at all....look at the city website:

http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/separated/dunsmuir_results.htm

Look at the viaduct numbers. June 14th, DURING the bike lane construction (arguably the least enjoyable time to ride) there were 8000+ cyclists using the viaduct. After the lane goes in, yes, the numbers go up, but NOT dramatically (in fact its virtually the same a month later!)...and there is no comparison to what the numbers were the same time last year! All we know from this graph is that the number of cyclists go up in the Summer...a stat we knew before the separated lane went in...and one that the separated lane does not appear to have changed in any significant way.

ON TOP OF THAT...if I'm a cyclist, sure, I'm going to move to Dunsmuir from other routes, increasing the usage on that route...but that doesn't result in a NET INCREASE in cyclists in downtown...it just moves them from one street to another.

DESPITE ALL THAT...I'm willing to have an open mind...just tell me what the REASONABLE benchmarks are that the trial deems a success, and I'll sit back and wait to see the results.

Unfortunately NO ONE seems to know what those benchmarks are...so we have no measure to gauge the success or failure of this trial...which is rather ridiculous.

The September numbers are now available for the Burrard Bridge bike lane. Unless my math is off (always possible), they show a 7.1% decrease from bike use on the bridge in 2009.

To put this in context, here is my assessment of the numbers for cycle use on the Burrard Bridge (again, subject to being corrected on the math):

JUNE 16 – JULY 10
2009 (pre-separated lane): 3775 / day
2010 (post separated lane): 4296 / day
- increase of 521 cyclists / day (13.8% increase)

All other figures are post installation:

JULY 13 – 31
2009 – 5536 / day
2010 – 5617 / day
- increase of 81 cyclists / day (1.4% increase)

AUGUST 1 – 31
2009 – 4207 / day
2010 – 4494 / day
- increase of 287 cyclists / day (6.8% increase)

SEPTEMBER 1 – 30
2009 – 3576 / day
2010 – 3322 / day
- decrease of 254 cyclists / day (7.1% decrease)

Of course it’s not possible to tell how much of this is weather related. Just as the higher increase in August 2009/2010 might be related to better weather in August 2010, the lower figures in September 2009 / 2010 may be related to a worse weather in September 2010.

@Jason

OK, so you want to pick the research apart, fine. The conclusions are pretty obvious but whatever. Then lets just use good old common sense. Cycling along a busy road trying to share lanes with motor vehicle traffic is just a horrible experience and not surprising, very few people do it and those that do are typically males who get a rush out of it.

Contrast that to Dunsmuir which is a much more comfortable experience and as a result, many more people have chosen to cycle on it.

Why are bike lanes controversial? To put it as simply as I can:

* Often, motorists object to having "their" space taken from them.

* Many bike lanes are inappropriately designed and located, or reflect unrealistic assumptions (e.g., that people won't double-park cars in them). Many bike lanes therefore create a false sense of security, or are obviously hazardous or unusable.

* The bicycling community is divided about bike lanes. Many cyclists find the problems with them distressing, while others don't understand the problems, or would prefer to present a united voice in support of government efforts on behalf of bicycling, in the hope that the situation will improve over the years, that building a constituency is the first step toward real progress, and that "Safety in numbers" somehow outweighs the ill effects of bad design.

* Whitewashing of design issues by these visionaries infuriates cyclists who are concerned with the design issues, while criticism infuriates advocates who are most concerned with constituency building and with relationships with government.

Richard:

"OK, so you want to pick the research apart, fine. The conclusions are pretty obvious but whatever."

Actually Richard, the reason the research is easy to pick apart is BECAUSE it doesn't have an obvious conclusion. You've made a wild assumption based on a report that doesn't in anyway justify your assumption.

Richard, I again ask you...could you please provide the criteria for success or failure of this "trial"...that way we have a benchmark to make a decision from...we'll compare the benchmarks to the actual statistics and then make a determination on success/failure from there.

I'm willing to wait and be open minded if you are.


IanS:

Thanks for that Ian...nice to have the numbers! Would you mind linking to the source, I'd love to be able to follow them moving forward.

I do agree, it's hard to know the "take away" from these numbers as it could be weather, it could be cyclists moving from other routes to the lanes, or it could be an actual increase in cyclists as a result of the lanes. I think we'd need more information, including the overall number of cyclists during the same period to be able to draw some conclusions.

Some more research

Separated bikeways mean better air quality for bikers, walkers
http://bikeportland.org/2010/10/28/study-cycle-tracks-mean-better-air-quality-for-bikers-walkers-41754

Sorry, I forgot to post the link to the data:
http://vancouver.ca/projects/burrard/statistics.htm


The site originally had figures for the increase in congestion caused by the separated bike lane, but those figures were removed. I'm not sure, but there was apparently some error in how they were calculated.

Thanks for the article. It is refreshingly free of cheap shots and a welcome turn for this blog. Sadly, I now see that Gordon Price is a target, much like Peter Ladner was when he supported the Burrard Bridge bike lane. What don't people get about our need to get off of fossil fuels and quickly?

"We don't really grasp the scale of the problem we're facing... The right goal is not to cut our carbon emissions in half. The right goal is zero."
~ Bill Gates, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/227553

@jason...

You'll never get benchmark numbers because they cycling lobby doesn't have them. They didn't know where they stood before. They just know that the city isn't spending enough money on them. Despite the hundreds of kilometres of dedicated bike space that was introduced by responsible government's of the past, they continue to complain that they want more than dedication. They want concrete barriers.

They lie to the public by telling them that these segregated lanes will be 'safer.' They try to make any argument against them seem like it's not fact-based, but when fact-based arguments show they're wrong, they don't listen to them. They just chime in with phrases like "...lets just use good old common sense."

It's painful to watch the ideologues continue to try to justify these lanes. It's clear they're failing, both in usage and in safety. I can't wait to see them ripped out of the ground.

@clear.the.air. Thanks for the compliment. Gord Price is a friend of both Daniel and myself, and I very much appreciate him giving his views on this matter. There are few who could have provided as thoughtful a response.

Richard/Cleantheair,

Wow, so now separated bike lanes result in cleaner air in our cities?

At this rate you're going to claim they will fix our budget deficit as well!

No one is debating the need to off fossil fuels...in fact, I would wager a guess that most of those arguing against the separated lanes feel the same way. The debate is whether a separated bike lane moves us in that direction at all, or is even in the top 20 things we could do as a city to help us get off fossil fuels.

Will somebody, ANYBODY, on the pro-lane side please give me some reasonable benchmarks for these damn lanes so that we can all stop debating whether they are good or bad, and simply rely on the facts. The lanes are in...the debate on whether we should or shouldn't have put them in is over. Let's all agree to do the following:

A) Agree to set some reasonable benchmarks that justify keeping or removing the lanes

B) Ensure we have unbiased, reliable statistics that paint the full picture so that we have accurate data to make a decision from

C) After we have the data either 1) stop bitching about the lanes because they've proven to be a success or 2) demand the removal of the lanes based on the trial being a "failure".

It seems to me that this would satisfy both sides of the issue, and provide us with specific numbers on our city, rather than us going back and forth on competing statistics and facts from other countries.

Can we all agree on this? Can someone please provide some reasonable benchmarks...

And let me state for the record, that as citizens we should have demanded this of city council from the beginning. If they want to label it a "trial" then they should have laid out the benchmarks ahead of time. It would have made a lot of this "debate" mute.

The Goof with No Helmet, No Hands and Staring off into space is no other than his worship (lower case deliberate)

Yes, Jason. It goes like this:

1) Our city puts in safe biking infrastructure

2) People feel safer and more confident riding in the city, especially that 8 to 80 group referred to in the article and promoted by Gil Penalosa and friends (http://www.sfu.ca/city/city_pgm_video022.htm; http://www.8-80cities.org/)

3) A greater proportion of the population has a safe, affordable, and healthy non-fossil fuel based transport option

4) As more people start riding it further improves safety; encouraging even more to consider biking as a mode of transport:

"A 2003 study published in the Injury Prevention Journal by Peter Lyndon Jacobsen concluded: "A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking or bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling."

Another study, called Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from the Netherlands and Germany, showed that pedestrians and cyclists in the United States were much more likely to be killed or injured than were Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists, both on a per-trip and on a per-kilometre basis, even though the European countries had far more cyclists on their streets.

That study showed that Germany and the Netherlands have implemented a wide range of policies over two decades that simultaneously encouraged walking and cycling while dramatically lowering pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries." (http://www.globalmontreal.com/health/cyclist+safety+more+cyclists/3354635/story.html)

5) Then we see an overall reduction of fossil fuel use and the pollution it creates as we achieve a transportation based mode-shift.

As for benchmarks, it seems to me the most important indicator is ridership, which has already increased following the creation of the Dunsmuir and Burrard lanes. I fail to see why the Hornby lane will be any different, particularly because it will be connecting link in the east-west downtown bike network. Exciting times in Vancity!

Yes, Jason. It goes like this:

1) Our city puts in safe biking infrastructure

2) People feel safer and more confident riding in the city, especially the 8 to 80 group targeted by the engineering dept and promoted by Gil Penalosa and friends. SFU's City Program has a great lecture by Penalosa explaining the idea on their website but you could also check out his org '8 to 80 Cities'.

3) A greater proportion of the population has a safe, affordable, and healthy non-fossil fuel based transport option.

4) As more people start riding it further improves safety; encouraging even more to consider biking as a mode of transport:

"A 2003 study published in the Injury Prevention Journal by Peter Lyndon Jacobsen concluded: "A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking or bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving the safety of people walking and bicycling."

Another study, called Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from the Netherlands and Germany, showed that pedestrians and cyclists in the United States were much more likely to be killed or injured than were Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists, both on a per-trip and on a per-kilometre basis, even though the European countries had far more cyclists on their streets.

That study showed that Germany and the Netherlands have implemented a wide range of policies over two decades that simultaneously encouraged walking and cycling while dramatically lowering pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries." (http://www.globalmontreal.com/health/cyclist+safety+more+cyclists/3354635/story.html)

5) Then we see an overall reduction of fossil fuel use and the pollution it creates as we achieve a transportation based mode-shift.

As for benchmarks, it seems to me the most important indicator is ridership, which has already increased following the creation of the Dunsmuir and Burrard lanes. I fail to see why the Hornby lane will be any different, particularly because it will be connecting link in the east-west downtown bike network. Exciting times in Vancity!

Ok, just thought maybe I should add to this. I have to support the bike lanes on Hornby, i worked at Cardero's in Coal Harbour this last summer, and lived in Kits, so to get to work biked across Hornby to get to work.

It is scary out there, I'm going 20-30km/h and the cars 40-50km/h. Before Robson people slam on their brakes and stop right in front of you, or turn into you in order to park, and between Robson and Georgia you get drivers drifting across into you in order to get in the turning lane, and i've even had a driver, who was driving in the middle lane turn into me doing an illegal right turn across the bike lane and right hand turning lane. I don't know how much worse this will make traffic, but it is huge for the safety of bikers. Isn't this what matters the most?

clean.the.air:

That is perhaps the most gigantic leap from one assumption to another that I've ever read....I think I could put together a hypothesis justifying just about anything if that's all you require for criteria.

And if your biggest motivation is a reduction in fossil fuels, it seems to me an emphasis on transit would get you there a whole lot quicker!

And there is actually no numbers to show an increase in the number of cyclists since the Dunsmuir/Burrard lanes have gone in...just that the numbers ON THOSE ROUTES have increased somewhat...and that WILL NOT result in the decrease in fossil fuels you seem to be using as the "benchmark" for these lanes.

Phil:

I don't believe an increase in "perceived" safety is enough justification to spend millions on separated bike lanes. The jury is still completely out on whether there will be an ACTUAL increase in safety. Just because the lanes make you "feel safer" doesn't really help matters if cyclists are getting into collisions every time they cross an intersection outside of the lanes!

I do, however, agree that if the numbers come back and show a reasonable increase in safety, that this would be one good "benchmark" from which to positively judge the lanes.

Again I say, we need to wait for the data before either side of this debate can claim the lanes are or aren't justified.


@Jason,

I don't report it when cars turn into me by accident. So this will be hard to measure.

Anyway thats just my 2 cents, from a biker who used the old lane.

Those aren't assumptions Jason. They are steps in transitioning our transportation system toward a healthier and safer lower carbon future. There is a rich body of research that shows just that... you might want to check out some of John Pucher's work, which Gordon Price has referenced several times on his blog (e.g.https://pricetags.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/pucher-posts/) or the work happening out at UBC's 'Cycling in Cities' project.

As for benchmarks, I said the key one is ridership. The city has an overall mode share target of 10% (http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080610/documents/tt1.pdf) but we haven't got there yet, with the exception of some neighbourhoods. I don't know if there are specific targets for the lanes that will soon form a continuous network. But I do know the city has released stats for the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir lanes and you can find them by searching 'Burrard Bridge statistics' and 'Dunsmuir Viaduct and separated bike lane bicycle counts'. But you seem to admit that by saying that "the numbers ON THOSE ROUTES have increased somewhat".

How do you figure that increased ridership "WILL NOT result in the decrease in fossil fuels"? If people are riding (or walking) instead of driving or bussing (not incl. electric trolleys) they are using fewer fossil fuels. I agree with you that we need more transit and realize that cycling isn't for everyone but its infrastructure is much more affordable than transit and doesn't get caught up in the provincial-TransLink-mayor's council mess; a key thing since time is of the essence. Finally, the Bill Gates interview I originally linked to shows that there is not going to be a silver bullet solution to our climate/ energy predicament but many solutions. Reflecting that our transportation system will need to accommodate bikes, buses, walking and electric cars rather than focusing on just one or two.

To be honest I wonder why you ride on this street if it's so dangerous? I have only once been in an accident and that was because I was riding on a sidewalk and the driver did not see me. So that was my own fault for being somewhere I shouldn't have. Thankfully otherwise I have cycled for years on city streets in many cities and have never had an accident. Even in Montreal which is far busier than Vancouver. Cylists could do well to just avoid certain streets that have too much vehicular traffic on them. This much I have learned.

It seems that Vancouver has become infested as of late with some very bad cycling habits such as this.

I have recently seen many cyclists still using Hornby while the entire street is under construction and only one lane is open to traffic. Stupidly dangerous.

@Jason

Even if you aren't convinced the separation from traffic will improve safety, there are several other aspects of the new lanes that will improve safety.

Cyclists getting hit by drivers opening their doors in front of them is responsible for around 10% of all injuries to cyclists along bike routes. As not all bike routes require cyclists to ride next to parked cars, the injuries due to dooring on a route like Hornby where the entire lane was next to parked cars were probably higher than 10%. By removing much of the parking and by placing the bike lane on the passenger side of parked cars, injuries due to dooring will be reduced.

Separated bike lanes also decrease the number of people riding on sidewalks which is against the rules and can be dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. By having a two-way path on a one-way street, riding against the flow of traffic on the street will no longer be dangerous and illegal.

In addition, it has been proven that the more cyclists use a route, the safer it is as drivers come to expect cyclists and drive accordingly. On Dunsmuir, the traffic speed seems to be significantly reduced which also improves the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. If the same happens on Hornby, it will improve safety.

Regarding intersection conflicts, which can be an issue with separated lanes (and painted bike lanes as well, the city has taken several measures to improve safety. They have banned right hand turns at many of the intersections along the separated bike lanes. They are also using bike only signals at some of the intersections along Hornby to prevent conflicts between people on bikes and left turing vehicles.

All and all, it is reasonable to expect that Hornby will be safer to cycle on and probably be safer for pedestrians and motorists as well.

"Separated bike lanes also decrease the number of people riding on sidewalks...
In addition,...on Dunsmuir, the traffic speed seems to be significantly reduced which also improves the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists"

I don't want to be provocative, but I work on Dunsmuir and although bikes, skateboarders, scooters and shopping cares are using the bike lanes, I still am seeing bikes on the sidewalks. I don't know why.

I am not aware that the speed of traffic on Dunsmuir is slowing...it would be interesting to see where that comes from (other than gridlock for example). If so, the slow down doesn't seem to me to have improved the safety of pedestrians.

I find that bikes and others who use the bike lane don't seem to be reassessing their driving behaviours and I still find that bike lane travellers continue to impede pedestrian walkways. For example, standing in pedestrian walkway when waiting for a light change; turning into pedestrian walkways when pedestrians still have the right-of-way; or riding through a walkway instead of walking the bike through.

I suspect that bike lane users don't understand that pedestrians are much more aware of cars as we can both see and hear them. Bikes on the roadway both startle and surprise if they appear in pedestrian walkways; we will get used to it, but probably need a little space in order to learn to navigate two hazards on the road.

I would certainly like to see the City indicate that bike riders on the sidewalks will suffer significant sanctions...I really hate it when that front wheel runs up the back of my leg!

Richard,

Terrific, I hope you're right...but how about we wait for the numbers to come in and the determine if the safety is perceived or actual?

Once again (and I'm beginning to notice the deafening silence from the pro separated lane people on this one) could you please outline the benchmarks and criteria for these lanes to be a "success" and will you commit to ending the trial if the benchmarks aren't met?

I'm more than willing to stop complaining and admit that I was wrong if some reasonable benchmarks are met...

Richard, you willing to take me up on this or should we assume that whether the lanes are a success or failure your pro lane? And if that is the case will you also concede that neither you nor or mayor, nor council ever had any intention of this being a "trial" because you really just want the lanes...no matter whether any of the rhetoric proves to be true or not?

Jason this might not be a benchmark but perhaps a barometer... has anyone taken notice of vision councillor Andrea Reimer's tweet earlier this evening?

--

https://twitter.com/andreareimer/status/29037757835

help! Anyone heading out of downtown to First Call event? Managed to get out of meetings but probably too late to bus to Fraserview Hall.

--

Oh my, what is it with Andrea and that "noose" around her neck she continues to knit from her own tweets. We're spending all this money on bike lane trials, that she approved because of all the bluster like on this thread, yet she asks for a lift out of DT.

Well it seems the bike lane hasn't increased ridership by one councillor tonight.

Perhaps the bike lobby can send her a tweet and tell her to get on a bike and ride the lane?

All aboard the fail parade!


@Capilanobaby

"...I work on Dunsmuir and although bikes, skateboarders, scooters and shopping cares are using the bike lanes, I still am seeing bikes on the sidewalks. I don't know why."

Indeed. On the few times I've ridden it out of DT towards East Van I've seen riders ignore red lights several times. It's as if the segregated bike lanes give a false sense of safety that they can now also ignore intersection traffic signals. I guess that's just part of that "bike salmon" behaviour, eh Gordon Price?

According to Gord, those "bike salmon" will ride upstream regardless of the flow of traffic on a one way street so might as well make all segregated bike lanes bi-directional and take up a whole lane.

Are there any laws that would prevent one from riding a horse in these bicycle/shopping cart/skateboard/segway lanes?

That picture looks like a bunch of cyclenazis taking over the road.

Good to see the mayor is a poster boy for the group up front with no helmet and not holding on to the handlebars.

I would like to see what he does when the camera isn't taking pictures. Someone should follow him one day.

@birdy.

The city said the only thing they'll permit in the bike lane is a bike. Full stop. Is it just me, or is anyone else outraged that a photo of our mayor breaking the law gets no reaction from the mainstream media? If this were any other mayor, they'd be bbq'd by the media. Gregor gets a pass. Sad.

85 posts til the nazi reference comes in, good job boys and girls!

This is in no way whatsoever being blown out of proportion haha.

The city faces a $20 million dollar budget shortfall and we continue to obsess over bicycle lanes. Perhaps it is because half of the shortfall is accounted for by a 4% increase to city workers, a collective agreement negotiated by an NPA council. And of course Vision isn't going to make an issue of it and upset the unions. We may not be ready for a Rob Ford who will commit to attacking bloated city budgets but we are getting close.

Bill, don't forget those union contracts are up for negotiation in 2011.

The one thing I do know is that traffic in the downtown core is a complete mess right now due to all the contruction in various areas.

And why is the section of Robson, directly in front of the Art Gallery still under constuction? It has been that way since after the Olympics.

You would think that the city would have had ample time to get that area finished off. O'well, maybe next summer.

@Bill

Obsess over bike lanes, you have to be joking. With only a couple of km of separated bike lanes in the city while there are hundreds of km of sidewalks and roads, I'm not sure how that implies obsession. Even downtown, only one of 14 east west streets has a separated bike lane and it only goes half-way through downtown while one 1 of 14 north-south streets has a separated bike lane.

The city is finally starting to make up for decades of little or no investment in cycling facilities, that is hardly an obsession.

Just try riding a bicycle on the majority of the busy streets in the city and the region, you will find little evidence of this imagined obsession as drivers speed past missing you by mere inches. I expect you would quickly find yourself on the sidewalk after seeing your life flashing before your eyes.

Try driving down Hornby in the dark right now. It's a gong show. It bottlenecks into from 3 lanes to 1, twice and you still can't figure out where the actual lanes should be.

I don't buy that argument from people. No one says boo about other much more intrusive projects. Knight and 41st have been under construction for months, no one is raging about the environmental impacts or time wasted or confusing layout or other impacts there. HWY 1, same thing 100 times worse.

But for a bike lane, oh god, the impacts are astronomical.

Actually I was referring to the obsession of both sides of the debate - there is consistently more comments on bicycles than any other issue. I think there are more important issues we should be considering such as the never ending increases in public spending. Thank you - I think your hysterical "life passing before my eyes every time I ride a bicycle" has helped to make my point.

Why in the daylights wouldn't you cut through traffic calmed West End streets to get there???

The Burrard experience is very telling. Appleton Galleries was forced to relocate after decades in one location at great expense and serious disruption to the owners retirement plans.
There are some businesses that I suspect may not even survive the construction period. 80% loss of revenue while your fixed costs remain the same is a recipe for financial disaster. And even if they scrape through, even if they recover to pre-construction levels, their credit may be compromised and they most certainly will never be compensated for their losses in the interim.

"With only a couple of km of separated bike lanes in the city while there are hundreds of km of sidewalks and roads,"

It absolutely amazes me that the pro-lane advocates are now dismissing the hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes we have throughout this city...while they railed for years to get these lanes in place, now they dismiss these lanes as "inadequate" and now only consider the "separated lanes" as TRUE bike lanes.

On top of that the fact that pedestrians lost one half of the Burrard St bridge to cyclists seems to never make it back into these discussions.

Oh and Richard, it's not lost on me that while you love to advocate the absolute necessity of the separated lanes, you have yet to respond to my numerous requests for "benchmarks" to measure these lanes by. I guess by committing to actual results that can be quantified you would run the risk of them potentially falling far short of the "pro lane" rhetoric.

CORRECTION: 1b concrete barriers are phallic.

@ Jason (or Jason King, I assume)

1) Thank you for the Louisse et al. quote.

Shame on you, however, for not linking to the full document, especially since you consider yourself "open-minded."

Here's the link to the full report (written by the Dutch road safety institute; I assume they are neutral enough for you, since you quoted them yourself):

http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Bicycle_facilities.pdf

Their summary:

"Bicycle facilities that separate motorized traffic from relatively vulnerable road users such as cyclists and light-moped riders are necessary in a sustainably safe traffic environment. Research has shown that the road segments of distributor roads with adjacent or separated bicycle paths are safer than road segments without such bicycle facilities. The number of crashes can be reduced by additional measures at intersections: priority regulations, speed bumps, and plateaus."

2) Regarding Delft, here's the latest research from the early 2000's performed "in association with the town of Delft":

http://www.reneuer.com/upload/DELF_EN_M.PDF

"Through the policy implemented, the average number of daily trips made by bicycle has increased by 12%,
rising from 25 000 to 28 000, and the total distance covered by 6 to 8% depending on the type of trip."

"Improved comfort and safety therefore seem to encourage residents to choose the bicycle as a means of
transport."

"Modal distribution has risen from 40 to 43% for the bicycle. Cars and walking have remained stable at 26%
while public transport has fallen from 6% to 4%, although the number of passengers carried has not changed."

3) "Actually Pacpost, painting lines and symbols on the asphalt, to designate that it is to be used for bike traffic only IS a BIKE LANE...and pretty much every city you use as an example has an extensive BIKE LANE network."

Did I say "lines"? Or is this just you twisting people's arguments, as you do so often on Bula's blog? I was talking about the bike symbol on its own, which accounts for most of the so-called bike lanes in this city.

"Every city you use as an example"? You mean those in the Netherlands? Have you ever travelled there? Have you cycled there? I have. I lived, worked and cycled in the Netherlands for a year (and Germany for three). I know from first-hand experience exactly what proper bike infrastructure should look like.

Since you seem to be wilfully ignorant of what this infrastructure might look like, a few examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindcaster-ezzolicious/3076785253/

Some pictures of Groningen, the world's leading cycling city, with 55% of all trips by bike:

http://www.hembrow.eu/cycling/photos.html

4) Finally, regarding the connection between air pollution and traffic, here's what San Francisco's "Bay Area Air Quality Management" district is doing in that city to directly improve air quality:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/bay-area-maps-out-bike-sharing-effort/


You know, it must be hard to go through life as angry as you seem to be (such liberal use of the Caps lock feature). But then, as Eric Mang points out in his excellent contribution today:

"Anger is a base instinct to tap into and much easier to appeal to than reason."

Well, Jason, still downtown only 1 out of 14 east west streets streets has a bike lane separated or not.

And I will refer you back to the Cycling and Cities research that clearly indicates that a lot of the facilities in the city are not the type that the average person feels comfortable or safe cycling on. Even if you think that all the bicycle routes in the city are fine, the number of km roads and sidewalks still far exceeds that of the cycling facilities.

Many of the bikeways in the city are clogged with motor vehicles making them not really that great to cycle on.

Regarding the Burrard Bridge, I have and will continue to push for a lane of traffic to be reallocated on the east side so pedestrians can be allowed back on the east sidewalk. I hope you will push for that too.

If you feel that benchmarks are so important, how about suggesting some yourself to start the discussion.

Removing a complete lane on the Burrard will be the deth knell for any governing body.

As a frequent transit user, I can't tell you how many bus drivers have openly complained about the bike lane, especially when traffic is backed up and there is not one cyclist using the lane.

Having transit that moves the masses is far more efficient that having bike lanes that move a few, especially when over 50% of the workers in the downtown core travel from outside of Vancovuer proper.

Pacpost (chris Keam I presume):

"Did I say "lines"? Or is this just you twisting people's arguments, as you do so often on Bula's blog?"

Your kidding right? I added the word "lines" into your description and I'm "twisting your words"? Could you please explain what you were talking about then, because the only logical conclusion was a bike lane...but if you meant something else PLEASE clarify.

"Since you seem to be wilfully ignorant"

Why thank you, I appreciate you enlightening me. Actually, yes, I've been, or lived, in a few places. The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Australia, Greece, the Middle East, South America etc. etc.....but thank you for the pictures, how they do bring back memories.

"You know, it must be hard to go through life as angry as you seem to be (such liberal use of the Caps lock feature)."

And here I thought cap locks were for emphasis....little did I know they were the equivalent of a punch in the face to you. Sorry to offend.

Actually Pacpost I'm not angry in the slightest, I'm actually a very happy fellow. I do, however, find this bike lane debate ever so frustrating.

But given your obvious superior knowledge on the bike lane debate, I'm assuming you're going to provide us all with some benchmarks for measuring the success of OUR (sorry, didn't mean to punch you) separated bike lanes?

I don't know if my questioning of the lanes has blinded you to what I've actually written, but I have stated pretty clearly that all I'm looking for are some clear benchmarks to measure the success of these "trial" lanes...and if they are met, I will happily concede that I was wrong, and be a future supporter of the lanes.

Does that sound like a guy who's simply angry? I actually thought that was pretty reasonable....

And given your quote on reason, a couple points....

"Reason is a mental faculty found in humans, that is able to generate conclusions from assumptions or premises."

You have a premise...that separated bike lanes are good. All I'm asking is that you lay out the foundation (benchmarks) for your premise so that we can quantify your premise and draw a conclusion.

Given your love of reason, you may also have heard of a fellow named Aristotle and his views on "Begging the question"...This fallacy is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof."

Given your 1000% support of the lanes, is it not a reasonable for you (or the mayor, or anyone else) to state some clear benchmarks for what you expect the lanes to accomplish? You know "proof"....Here are some possible suggestions:

"An increase in safety of X%", "an increase in ridership of Y%", "a decrease in accidents my Z%".

Then we all have a way of measuring/quantifying your premise so we can draw a conclusion (the success or failure of the separated lanes).

Let's stop begging the question and start providing some quantifiable measurements...and I PROMISE YOU (sorry, there I go again) that if the numbers are met I will HAPPILY renounce my pessimism on these lanes, and spread nothing but positive comments about them.

From one happy fellow to another...isn't that fair? Isn't that just the reasoned debate you claim you want?

And when it's all said and done, whether I'm right or wrong...how about we hug it out? Then I'll have proved to you I'm happy AND reasonable.

Hi Jason:

I don't believe they will be able to give qualitative numbers as the way the cycling lobby currently measures riderhsip is through embedded sensors in thebike lanes.

This method cannot measure unique ridership.

The increase on the Dunsmuir lane could be attributed to bike couriers using the lane throughout the day - one courier could run multiple trips along the same route and be counted each time.

You will more than likely see this on Hornby as well.

However, the lobbyists toute these numbers as 'increased ridership' when all in all, they are not true numbers.

@Max

This is how all traffic is measured. Traffic counts of motor vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users all count trips and not unique users. Couriers in cars for example, likely make multiple trips on the same street as well.

The trips by couriers couriers before the installation of the lanes have been counted so courier trips won't be counted as an increase unless the number of trips by couriers increases.

Also, it is the City of Vancouver that is doing the counts.

Max,

I think that's a cop out. While I do think the current administration pushes the numbers they like and "leaves out" information that may not fit their narrative, I do believe that we can trust the numbers from the city engineers.

However, if we're going to look at "benchmarks" it probably shouldn't be ridership on the lanes themselves, but an overall increase in ridership, as this was one of the "goals" of these lanes. I'm not saying this would be the only measure, but this COULD be one of them.

I honestly don't think this is a complicated thing to do...and quite frankly, given how adamant the "pro lane" group is, the numbers should be pretty one sided anyway...although I'm willing to accept even modest increases in cycling or modest decreases in accidents to concede this point. I just want one cyclists to acknowledge that for a bike lane "trial" this is a reasonable request rather than acting like I'm somehow making "ridiculous" demands.


I'm not pacpost.

Regarding cycling as 'empowering' Absolutely. Cheap mobility. You better believe it changes lives.

Regarding benchmarks. What are the benchmarks used for building roads for motor vehicles? Or are we setting a higher standard of proof for a much smaller investement?

Regarding $25 million for bike lanes. Incorrect quoting of the figure. It's for a ten year plan that includes a number of road improvements, planning, etc. throughout the city.

"Regarding benchmarks. What are the benchmarks used for building roads for motor vehicles? Or are we setting a higher standard of proof for a much smaller investement?"

I guess if they called the road a "trial" I might ask the same question....but alas they don't.

Again Chris, it's not lost on me that you also refuse to answer the question.

Absolutely amazes me that not one of the people that claim the bike lanes are going to save our society are willing to step up in the slightest when I ask you to commit to even modest benchmarks to gauge their success.

I wonder why that is.

Comments like 'claim that bike lanes will save society' do nothing but enflame this bs discussion more. It's ridiculous exaggeration made to frankly be a dick.

Bike lanes are controversial because of the party in power and the perceived method of implementation. The bike lanes in question are a relatively insignificant investment involving a very tiny amount of land.

I point out again the billions being spent on hundreds of km of new/expanded highways throughout the region and all the associated impacts that come with that with nary a whimper. Where are the posts on the impacts of the SFPR? Highway 1 expansion? The proposed NFPR? etc... No, we need dozens of posts on stupid bike lanes.

I know this is a Vancouver blog and as such, things east of Boundary/south of the river don't really matter. I get that. But the impact of this highway expansion to transportation in Vancouver FAR outweighs some stupid bike lane downtown.

"comments like 'claim that bike lanes will save society' do nothing but enflame this bs discussion more. It's ridiculous exaggeration made to frankly be a dick."

Yes, you're right boohoo....coming on here and calling me a dick heightens the discussion and leads us all to an intellectual high ground. Thank you for raising the bar, yet again.

Several posts back people are claiming that the bike lanes are going to lead us directly to clean air and the eventual dismantling of the automobile driven society as we know it. I think making a comment about people claiming that bike lanes will save society is NOT a jump...A tongue in cheek jab at the ridiculousness of the debate perhaps, but certainly not a leap.

But you know what boohoo, you've got a point...the point being that this debate is a ridiculous waste of time. No one's listening, no one is discussing, everything is just an opinion. And EVERYONE has an opinion, and opinions don't need support, don't need benchmarks, don't need fact...they're just opinion.

Oh and boohoo...had you bothered to read any of my posts, you might have noticed my constant emphasis on transit. I DO believe that expanded transit, not just in Vancouver, but throughout metro Vancouver IS a big part of the solution. As is a gas tax that goes directly to transit to move people away from the automobile and onto transit.

Bike lanes are not going to solve our transportation problems, they are not going to move people out of cars (to any sizable degree) and they aren't going to stop the consistent highway expansion you seem to be worried about. Transit, however, can make a HUGE dent.

Dick out.


By 'some people' you mean that one poster? Should I look at say Glen's comments and have them reflect on other people?

My comments re: transit were just in general not at you. The bike lane 'debate' is a black hole sucking the life out of any and all other issues.

Highway expansion?
Cambie corridor planning?
The new proposed 26 story tower at Broadway/Kingsway?
The 40 something story tower at the foot of the Burrard St Bridge?
etc etc etc

All of these and many more will have WAY more impact on this city but we rarely talk about them. Just bike lanes bike lanes bike lanes.

"Again Chris, it's not lost on me that you also refuse to answer the question. "

C'mon Jason. You can't even articulate the numbers that would convince you it's a success other than to refer to them as 'modest'. After all, my 'benchmark' is probably going to be a lot different from yours. If you need benchmarks to have a discussion on bike lanes then I think it's up to you to provide some hard figures that would constitute a success in your perspective.

Chris,

Your post is indicative of your debate since day one. You expect everyone else to prove the bike lanes are not going to be a success, rather than the other way around. You're advocating to do something Chris, the onus is on you to provide the criteria for us all to quantify your premise.

It is you, the mayor and other pro-lane advocates that have argued that this is a worthwhile expenditure, that this is going to make biking safer, that this will lead to a "substantial" increase in cyclists (I think the mayors quotes are more than a doubling of those biking downtown right now). All I'm asking is that you quantify your statements and give us some benchmarks to gauge the success by.

Chris you have made what, 40 posts, advocating with absolute certainty the benefits of the lanes, using countless examples from other cities. Yet you refuse to put down even one benchmark that you expect the lanes to achieve? You don't feel that's ridiculous?

I'm honestly tired and done with this debate...it's a substantial waste of time that isn't accomplishing anything. Everyone will scream at the top of their lungs for or against, but no one will agree to some basic measurements in order to make a reasoned decision by.

So in closing Chris, let me simply say that I do hope that the bicycle lanes substantially increase safety and ridership into downtown Vancouver. Despite my opposition to the entire process of putting them in, now that they are in, I do hope they are a big success and that all my skepticism proves to be wrong.

That being said, if ridership remains virtually the same, and safety doesn't increase at all over the next 6-9 months, you can expect to see me back on here complaining and asking what all the money, pain, concrete and yelling was really for.

Until then, happy cycling.

Max,

I think that's a cop out. While I do think the current administration pushes the numbers they like and "leaves out" information that may not fit their narrative, I do believe that we can trust the numbers from the city engineers.'

***********

Sorry Jason, but you hold more faith in the current administration than I do when it comes to providing factual information.

I base my judgement on their past and current record of 'truthfulness'.

"Your post is indicative of your debate since day one. You expect everyone else to prove the bike lanes are not going to be a success, rather than the other way around. You're advocating to do something Chris, the onus is on you to provide the criteria for us all to quantify your premise."

Like citing 'countless examples' in other cities?

It is you, the mayor and other pro-lane advocates that have argued that this is a worthwhile expenditure, that this is going to make biking safer, that this will lead to a "substantial" increase in cyclists (I think the mayors quotes are more than a doubling of those biking downtown right now). All I'm asking is that you quantify your statements and give us some benchmarks to gauge the success by."

My understanding is that this lane, like the others recently implemented will have counters installed with which to quantify the number of cyclists using the lane.

Chris you have made what, 40 posts, advocating with absolute certainty the benefits of the lanes, using countless examples from other cities. Yet you refuse to put down even one benchmark that you expect the lanes to achieve? You don't feel that's ridiculous?"

Nope. If I give you a conservative estimate, you'll tell me the benefit isn't great enough to try. If I go with a generous appraisal and it doesn't come through then it should never have been built. Can't win.

"I'm honestly tired and done with this debate...it's a substantial waste of time that isn't accomplishing anything. Everyone will scream at the top of their lungs for or against, but no one will agree to some basic measurements in order to make a reasoned decision by."

Perhaps it's time for you to step back and ask yourself why no one is taking your comments very seriously? Maybe the points you are trying to raise seem important in your mind, but to the various advocates and experts who have studied the topic in greater depth they aren't key factors?

My understanding is that this lane, like the others recently implemented will have counters installed with which to quantify the number of cyclists using the lane.

************

And this is part of the problem when posting accurate numbers.

Say, if I paid one cyclist to ride 100 times over the senors, that number would be taken and used when reporting an 'increase in ridership'.

"Say, if I paid one cyclist to ride 100 times over the senors, that number would be taken and used when reporting an 'increase in ridership'."

Ridership numbers tend to rise and fall at the same time in lots of places where it is counted in Vancouver, so any substantive increase in one place would probably stick out as an aberration. With figures available for Burrard and Dunsmuir it shouldn't be hard to validate your claim Max, if it is true.

If someone is trying to game the system they must be paying a lot of cyclists to ride a lot of kilometres to achieve an increase in the total, not to mention all the hush money they would have to fork over to all the people involved in this theoretical plot. If one rider was trying to make a significant dent in the Dunsmuir numbers they would have to ride the length of the lane for hours (assume five minutes one way) to have a measurable impact. If a legion of riders were tasked with this project it would be a secret for about five minutes.

I think we can look at the figures as they stand as reasonably indicative of reality.

Chris,

It's a shame how every time I state I'm leaving the debate, you're SUDDENLY full of piss and vinegar. You won't debate head on, so it's no surprise that when I start walking away you suddenly have nerve.

"Nope. If I give you a conservative estimate, you'll tell me the benefit isn't great enough to try. If I go with a generous appraisal and it doesn't come through then it should never have been built. Can't win."

You didn't try, so how in god's name would you know? Go back and read what I wrote, I've stated in about 4 posts that I'd be more than happy with "marginal" increases...you're coping out, because you don't want to get pinned down on anything. Again, you're more than willing to scream from the roof tops, but trying to get you to state one number or commit to one benchmark and suddenly the nerve is gone. I'm more than willing to commit, AND I'm offering to let you set the goal line...man up for god's sake.

"Perhaps it's time for you to step back and ask yourself why no one is taking your comments very seriously?"

Funny Chris...I've had you throwing absolute fits on other posts when debating with me...so I think YOU may have taken me seriously once or twice.

On top of that, you like to walk away from the debate whenever I answer your questions and you don't like the answers...as in the bus using the Burrard section of the bike lanes...which one of your cycle advocate friends agreed made absolute sense once I laid out my suggestion. You asked me for buses, routes, a problem that needed solving, etc...I provided all of it, and what did you do? Stopped debating...funny that.

Yes Chris, this is pretty much exactly what I expected from you...you're that kid in the school yard who likes to pretend they want a fight the minute their opponent has grown tired of waiting and is half way across the field.

I keep trying to meet you half way, and have an honest debate....you, on the other hand have an agenda and therefore aren't interested in any of it.

Good luck with that Chris...I'm sure it will take you very far in life.

Oh and despite my growing negative views on you Chris...let me also state that when driving across the Burrard St. bridge this morning in HORRIBLE weather, and seeing a half a dozen cyclists braving the weather to ride in the Burrard lanes, I thought to myself "wow...maybe the bike lanes will prove to be successful after all...one can only hope".

Some of us aren't set in our ways or have an agenda Chris...you might consider that for next time.

Now I really must get back to real life...I have no doubt I can expect more "tough" talk from you once I'm gone.


Jason:

This long and protracted debate comes down to two simple issues. You want benchmarks? Then you come up with them. Define in hard numbers the stats that will make you a fan. This is not unfair. It's what you expect from everyone else. You need to be the leader in this if you want others to follow suit.

Ask yourself why no one seems to be jumping to your defense regarding benchmarks? Here's something to consider. Maybe it's just not that great an idea? I'm sure you have lots of good ideas. But, this one might need some more work.

"You won't debate head on, so it's no surprise that when I start walking away you suddenly have nerve."

Please. Give me a break. I have provided plenty of direct responses to your ideas. And you're not going anywhere. That's one thing I'm sure of.

cheers,
CK

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