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.


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.


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.



Oct 01, 2015

He thought he got away with it. When the driver of an Infiniti SUV struck a Chicago bicyclist earlier this year, fracturing his collar bone, he chose to flee.  What he did not count on was the bicyclist, a 35 year old Chicago pastry chef, having the wherewithal to snap a photo of his license […]

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Sep 17, 2015

Last week another Iowa cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver. At around 6:00am Dave Ryder was struck by Stephanie Kenealy on 35th Avenue.  Dave was coming home from the casinos.  He was riding a road bike with drop handlebars.  The bicycle was equipped with at least a rear light, and Ryder was wearing a […]

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Sep 15, 2015

From Detroit we continued west to Chicago — “The Windy City,” “The Second City,” or maybe just “Bike City.” We rolled in to town through a torrential downpour. And arrived at Ancien Cycles on North Milwaukee Avenue (aka The Hipster Highway). While Timmy was navigating the streets and looking for parking, Anne Barnes (the fit guru […]

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Sep 08, 2015

The Des Moines Register is publishing a series of articles on bicycling in Iowa. My understanding is that they had planned the series, but the highly publicized hit-and run-death of Gregary “Wade” Franck brought bicycling safety issues to the forefront of many minds in Iowa.The current article is titled, “Why does Iowa have so many […]

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Sep 08, 2015

Detroit Bike City! After leaving Maryland we headed northwest toward Detroit. As we got closer to Pittsburgh we were all looking for a place to ride. Our route was going to cross the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) at some point, but none of the assorted maps and GPS systems could tell us exactly where—at least […]

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Sep 07, 2015

Having rolled out of Charlotte at the end of the party, we made our way closer to DC and “slept” east of Durham for a few hours. Up early and out the door after a banana break we headed toward Richmond. At Richmond we picked up Bike Law Tom and switched drivers. Bob took the […]

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Sep 06, 2015

Our kick-off party was Friday, September 4th in Charlotte.  Who knew that the Queen City was one of the coolest bike-to-breweries city in the nation?!  Well, the locals know it very well. We arrived in the Sprinter at Triple C Brewing right on time, greeted by a pumped up mob of bike folks, ready for […]

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Sep 03, 2015

An irresponsible piece of journalism about biking injuries and deaths was published yesterday by National Public Radio under the headline, As More Adults Pedal, Their Biking Injuries and Deaths Spike, Too. The story noted the fact that the number of people biking regularly has substantially increased over the past several years, while spotlighting a “striking” […]

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Aug 18, 2015

September 4 – 19, 2015.  The Bike Law National Tour. For two weeks, Bob, Timmy, and I are loading up the cargo bikes in our Sprinter van and visiting (and picking up) Bike Law lawyers from Charleston to Denver and back.  In each city, we are throwing a party, visiting shops, buying beer, joining rides […]

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Aug 17, 2015

“There are two types of bicycle riders, those who have crashed and those who will crash.” I recall being told this when I first began cycling and time has proven it to be true. In my case, the crashes have been numerous. As my dad has pointed out, I have a need for doing everything […]

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Aug 12, 2015

So a driver just cut you off, flipped you off, or otherwise harassed you. It’s happened to all of us. I have had a blaring horn scare me and nearly cause me to crash. I would have loved to pull the minivan driver from his seat and give him a piece of my mind or […]

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Aug 12, 2015

Bike Law Georgia has entered a strategic partnership with Georgia Bikes to be a Presenting Sponsor for the 6th Annual Georgia Bike Summit in November 2015.   The Bike Summit will be in Milledgeville and starts with a First Friday Street party, followed by a day of workshops, discussion and speakers all revolving about ways to […]

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