02

Cambio Corsa: The Bike Law 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

Dec 12, 2014

If you have a regular 9-5 job, this time of year you’re getting off work when it’s still dark out.  If you ride your bike to work or you like to get some miles in after work it’s important that you make sure you have proper lighting equipment on your bicycle, not only to make […]

Read More
Dec 12, 2014

It’s s dream many of us share.  Using our bikes all day, every day, all year around.  Getting from this place to that place on protected bike lanes.  Riding among a sea of riders in a place where bikes are given priority on the road. Copenhagen, as you know, is that place.   Here’s what […]

Read More
Dec 08, 2014

Persistent sleuthing, hard work and a little luck has brought about successful resolution of a bicyclist’s legal claim against a driver that struck him from behind last year.  Our law firm represented the bicyclist, an active, physically fit 75 year old man.  The case resolved for the full amount of available auto insurance coverage. The collision […]

Read More
Dec 08, 2014

At Least In Some Cities.  Is Your City On The List?  Ride a bike, and sooner or later you will notice that drivers often receive preferential treatment under the law. Our streets are often designed with drivers in mind, with little or no thought given to cyclists. If you are hit by a careless driver, […]

Read More
Nov 17, 2014

A common question from cyclists injured in a crash or accident is, “do I need a lawyer?”   Cyclists can be a tough bunch. We like to figure out things for ourselves. There are two possible scenarios: (1) If the injury is serious, the injured person often thinks, this is a no-brainer, the insurance company will […]

Read More
Reedo in winter gear
Nov 12, 2014

Below are some of the things I (Jim Reed in Upstate NY) have learned during my 40+ years of winter riding. KEEP THE WIND OUT Your outermost layer needs to be windproof but breathable.  We are blessed by many fabric choices that accomplish these goals and the key is to have a great outer layer. […]

Read More
StateBadges_Web_OR
Nov 12, 2014

Bicycle helmets have been in the news lately. Last month, Bike Law Illinois attorney Brendan Kevenides reported that an Illinois case may have some potential to hold Illinois cyclists liable for their own head injuries if they are hit by a car and are not wearing a helmet. The day before that report came out, […]

Read More
19001200SidepathsVol3No23p430fullcover
Nov 05, 2014

Sidepaths haven’t existed for a century – so why do we still refer to “mandatory sidepath laws”? I want to reclaim a word. As a policy historian who has spent several years writing about the brief and largely-forgotten sidepath movement of the 1890s, I sometimes get an earful from present-day cyclists who are upset about […]

Read More
Nov 03, 2014

Former British pro cyclist Chris Boardman wrote a great op-ed piece appearing on the BBC website today complaining that the lack of safe traffic infrastructure makes him fear for his daughter’s safety while riding on the roads around their home. Chris is most famous for setting the world record in the one-hour track time trial three times from 1993 […]

Read More
Oct 30, 2014

Understanding trends in helpful in deciding where to focus safety efforts and crash prevention. According to a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways is trending upward. The report finds that yearly bicyclist deaths increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, while overall motor vehicle […]

Read More
Oct 28, 2014

Sometimes a wayward comment by a Court can wreak all manner of havoc.  Recently, I came across such a remark in a federal case from the Northern District of Illinois which I fear could have a negative impact on bicycle crash cases filed in Illinois state court. The issue which the federal court stepped in […]

Read More
Oct 27, 2014

Bicycle lawyers are frequently asked for advice about the bicycle insurance coverages cyclists should consider. The answer to this question is complicated and usually requires an analysis of a cyclist’s unique circumstances and existing insurance policies. However, virtually all bicycle attorneys recommend that all cyclists purchase “uninsured motorist insurance” and “underinsured motorist insurance.” The importance […]

Read More
Load More