This is a piece received via email from Gloria Williams (@caniwiwilliams) that she has given me permission to post.
I read your thoughtful column on cycling safety this morning and I thought I’d send along this photo which shows just how simple it can be to create protected bike lanes. This is Vancouver, a city similar in size to Auckland and this photo is on a main street within the CBD.
Yesterday I walked to St Heliers on the footpath and made these observations about the so called cycle path ( the one on the footpath, not the road)
- There are signposts cemented into the middle of the bike path in places ( bus stop signs, crossing signs etc etc)
- When parked cars open their passenger doors it blocks the entire bike oath ( witnessed a near accident because of this) Car passengers don’t look of course.
- Of course we know how bumpy and uneven it is (tree roots etc)
- It’s very narrow, not wide enough for bike travelling both directions.
- It’s poorly marked. The little painted bicycle sign is not used near enough and they are quite faded anyway.
- People and their leashed dogs, strollers, scooters, skateboards, joggers etc all stray into the lane, or use it intentionally.
So no wonder cyclists take their chances on the road, where the haphazard attempt at bike lanes are just as bad, too narrow, used by cars, intermittent, car door hazards, etc etc.
What all this shows me is that bike lanes are just an afterthought, we are trying to fit them in around very other usage without dedicating any real space to it.