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

20168250raxr
Aug 26, 2016

As a bike crash lawyer, I have seen far too many crashes that get unfairly reported when a vulnerable road user such as a cyclist or pedestrian is involved.  There is a tendency to turn the initial focus on the conduct of the victim.   This sets up a situation of victim blaming and promotes the […]

Read More
14115397_10209964575208064_7257094583491505930_o
Aug 26, 2016

Well, road rage has again reared its ugly head near Charlotte, North Carolina. This time no one was hurt, but the behavior was life threatening, photos were taken, and the social media story went viral. As a bike crash attorney in Charlotte, and as a member of the Bike Law national network, I deal with […]

Read More
Aug 24, 2016

He had just been launched skyward by the front end of a pickup truck.  Now the police were giving him a ticket. Jason was riding his road bike in the travel lane of North River Road in Libertyville, Illinois with his father-in-law and two friends when an impatient teenaged driver in a Toyota Tacoma pulled […]

Read More
hqdefault
Aug 19, 2016

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth a million.  As every lawyer knows, a crash will have multiple versions of the event; your client’s story, the defendant’s story, and the truth.  A video always gets us to the truth. Rarely are we as lucky to have a client with […]

Read More
IMG_3840
Aug 12, 2016

Since I have returned home from riding across Iowa, a lot of people have asked, “What’s RAGBRAI like?” Well, it’s a lot like riding your bike for the fun of it with your friends and meeting lots of like-minded folks along the route—kind of like when you were a kid. It’s also like a choose-your-adventure […]

Read More
13612282_10209884791222956_2170951003735034556_n
Aug 04, 2016

On July 12, House Bill 959 was signed into law and it changes a few things for bicyclists. What effect, if any, will these changes have on bicycle safety? A little background, if you haven’t been following along. Last summer, the Legislature passed HB 232 and set up a working group to study North Carolina […]

Read More
Jul 29, 2016

On June 7, 2016, Charles Pickett, Jr., while under the influence of an unidentified controlled substance, drove his pickup truck into a group of cyclists in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  In doing so, he killed 5 people, and seriously injured 4 others.  The tragedy gained national attention, and there was an outpouring of support for the cyclists […]

Read More
Bike crash
Jul 19, 2016

You can’t believe that just happened. You were cut off. Left hooked. Doored. However your crash occurred, it happened, and thankfully you are walking away, shaken and pissed off. Sadly, you can’t say the same for your bike. Your frame is cracked or bent. Fork or wheels trashed. Saddle ripped. Who is going to pay? […]

Read More
DC law
Jul 12, 2016

July 12, 2016 @ 1 p.m: Washington, D.C. just took a very big step forward in protecting the rights of vulnerable road users.   Bike Law’s Timmy Finch was there. Today, Council approved the first reading of the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016. [Read more about the bill and its postponement last month.] […]

Read More
1410576_630x354
Jul 02, 2016

It’s been a brutal start to the summer for cyclists.  From New York to Michigan to San Fransisco and everywhere in between we’ve seen a level of carnage unmatched as far as I can remember.  I’ve been told that there are all sorts of possible reasons for these bike crashes, mostly some combination including more […]

Read More
IMG_3687
Jun 28, 2016

11:30 am UPDATE: Act pulled from today’s Agenda in last minute move.  This means it HAS to come up at the July 12th meeting.  We will be there!  Today, the DC Council will vote on the “Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016.”  If passed, the act will end the antiquated legal doctrine of contributory […]

Read More
Jun 27, 2016

Although we negatively judge our American neighbours repeatedly over their gun laws, when the weapon is a car (and it is used to seriously hurt or kill a cyclist or pedestrian) they are way ahead of us and find our system appalling. A large number of States have already passed Vulnerable Road User Laws and […]

Read More
Load More