02

Blog

Denver Bike Lawyer reports on Bike Planning in Vancouver

Bicycle accident lawyer Jason Crawford returns to Vancouver, and likes what he sees.

Recently, I (Bike Law Jason) visited Vancouver after a gap of several years. Having lived around Vancouver many years ago, I have spent an extensive amount of time in the city and been able to go everywhere I needed, or wanted, to travel without ever having to set foot in a car or taxi. This is, in part, one of the reasons that Vancouver is consistently rated one of the most livable cities in the world and tops among all North American cities. And, implicit in this livability, is the great integration of cycling into the daily fabric of city living. Downtown residents and workers can easily commute cross-town utilizing their bikes or quickly get out to friendly, suburban ride routes utilizing the light rail system for one of their legs.

Another eye-opening realization was the degree of safety engineering that went into their newer dedicated bike lanes. Throughout the city, numerous lanes are separated from traffic and allow bi-directional travel along one side of the street. Where the bike lane crosses an intersection, drivers’ are alerted to the possible presence of cyclists by green zones painted throughout the intersections.

clip_image002

Vancouver is several years ahead of Denver in planning for safe and accessible bike lanes. The main problem facing Denver riders at present seems to be the lack of safe routes to and from the downtown core. At rush hour, traffic along the designated bike routes is heavy and (and is common today) distracted by cell-phone use. Quite frankly, some of Denver’s posted bike routes are incredibly dangerous to ride and accidents happen with such frequency that many people are deterred from attempting to use their bikes as an integral part of their daily transportation options. We need much more local involvement to call attention to the fact that we should be doing more to make our streets safe for cyclists. Until we do, I do not see Denver becoming a truly world-class cycling city.

bike

Even being ahead of the curve, Vancouverites are pushing for a redesign of bike lanes based on the Dutch model, which puts the visibility and safety of cyclists first. By routing cyclists just slightly away from the traffic lanes at intersections (and more towards the pedestrian crosswalk zones), a buffer is created which puts the cyclist in a better location to be seen by drivers before they make their turns.

The vast majority of auto versus bicycle accidents that we see involve a car making a turn either in front of, or into, a cyclist. And the most common comment we hear from at-fault drivers is “I did not even see” the cyclist. This is because cyclists are forced to compete with cars in many urban settings and, where drivers are, by default, looking out for other cars, the presence, speed and direction of a cyclist may not even register with the driver. Pure and simple, it is a case of a driver only seeing what they expect to see.

The design of these Dutch style bike lanes creates awareness in motorists that they should expect to see cyclists in these areas. Even more importantly, the cyclist is more visible to any drivers by virtue or being visually separated from the cluttered background of the traffic lane behind him or her. Hopefully, these minor changes would reduce the frequency and severity of accident for cyclists utilizing these lanes.

Here’s a great article on improving city bike lane design with incredible graphics for a “cyclist first” bike lane.

 

Comments

Bike Law Michigan Mechanic Award
Jan 17, 2017

Bicycle mechanics are referred to as the unsung heroes of the peloton. They are also the unsung, and often unrecognized, heroes for local bike shops and most cyclists. Show some love for your mechanic by nominating him/her to be considered for the Bike Law Michigan Mechanic of the Year Award. 1 winner will receive a […]

Read More
Bike Law Manifesto 02
Jan 16, 2017

Our second principle is a gentle reminder of why we always turn to the bike.
“Nothing else allows us the independence, pleasure, and power to move so far, so fast, with so little effort.”

Read More
Michigan Needs Better Cycling Laws
Jan 13, 2017

After two years of a dramatic increase of bicyclists killed by car crashes in Michigan, there is a clear connection between these deaths and the lack of laws to protect cyclists.

Read More
DC Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act
Jan 12, 2017

In 2016, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) was a standout group in their unrelenting advocacy work to push forward the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act protecting all vulnerable road users.

Read More
Ellens Law Bike Law Canada
Jan 10, 2017

Update:  ‘Ellen’s law’ gets endorsement from Saint John city council

Read More
Bike Law Manifesto 01
Jan 09, 2017

In the start of this new year we think it’s a good time to go back to our roots, our guiding principles – the Bike Law Manifesto.

The first guiding principle is simple.

“We are cyclists because we love to ride, and everybody who loves to ride is a cyclist.”

Read More
Ben Burnett Hit and Run Bicycle Accident
Jan 04, 2017

On December 10th, 2016, Ben Burnett was knocked off his bicycle while riding in Greenwood, South Carolina, by a hit-and-run motorist. The vehicle left behind an important clue to the investigation, a side mirror. This side mirror had a part sticker on it that helped lead the SC Highway Patrol to identifying the type of vehicle […]

Read More
Arleigh Jenkins - Bike Law Director
Jan 02, 2017

Bike Law is thrilled to announce the successful recruitment of Arleigh Jenkins as our Director.

Read More
Bike Law Canada Community Safety Zones
Dec 20, 2016

Firstly, before even embarking on this issue, I want to express extreme concern that no steps have been made to bring in Vulnerable Road User Laws (VRUL) in Ontario.  A request has been made and supported by the City of Toronto, Cycle TO, Friends and Families for Safe Streets, Walk To, United Senior Citizens of Ontario, […]

Read More
Video of Cyclists Taking the Lane
Dec 09, 2016

Bike Law’s Tom Bowden took control of the travel lane to justice this week in Richmond Circuit Court, on appeal from General District Court, by successfully appealing a traffic ticket wrongfully issued to Taylor Wyant for not riding on the far right of the roadway. Not only did Bowden get Wyant’s ticket thrown out and […]

Read More
Katie Zimmerman
Dec 08, 2016

Here’s a guest rant from Katie Zimmerman. Katie is the Director of the Air, Water, & Public Health Program for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. She joined the League in 2009 as a Project Manager after working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center. She currently serves on the Executive […]

Read More
Bike Law Bicycle Accident Lawyers are Hiring
Dec 05, 2016

1/2/16: THE POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED.  ANNOUNCEMENT TO COME. *** We are looking for a Directeur Sportif, Administratif, et de Creation.  A Guy/Gal Friday.  A no-job-too-small-or-too-big Lieutenant. Bike Law is a network of bicycle lawyers across the country (bikelaw.com).  Our affiliated lawyers are a great crew of hard-working and successful attorneys, dedicated bike advocates, and […]

Read More
Load More