Bike lanes or no bike lanes - that is the question.
Sounds like something Shakespeare would recite. In fact this is the raging argument/discussion on going in Vancouver now and for the last couple of years. There are lots of people from all sides of the spectrum that have lined up to have their say.
This blog was started to talk about cycling safety, and for the most part separated bike lanes are safer for cyclists when travelling and for those that are not as proficient and comfortable riding in and with traffic.
Having said that bike lanes have a place both along side the road surface and separate from the road surface by a barrier of some type.
There is discussion about what type of barrier that should be used. In some places cement barriers are what is used. In others the new barrier is using the parked cars and the bike lane is inside of them, next to the sidewalk. New York is trying that type currently.
I guess it comes down to an old fisherman's tale. Two fishers are standing next to the stream, one is catching fish and the fisher isn't catching a thing. They both start talking and find out they are using the same lure. The one catching fish swears by the lure, the one without a bite swears at the lure. It all depends on your perspective.
Maybe a better way to explain the difference in views is an old saying I learned 30 plus years ago, in my previous life - There is three ways to do the job - The Right Way - The Wrong Way - and The Mountie Way. Go ahead and ask any Mountie you know and you will hear this for anything that happens and how the job should be done.
The point of this is that there are those that believe only separated bike lanes are the answer, and there are those that believe that cars and bikes can co-exist on the roads, once the cyclists learn to use some basic principals, and car drivers realise cyclists have just as much right, that is correct, right to be there.
The CAN-BIKE safe cycling program has a couple of corner stones that fall into this.
Manoeuvrability, Visibility, Predictability, and Communication
I have shortened that down some
See, Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Predicable
I just went back and looked at the start of the CAN-BIKE course that I use regularly. One of the first power point panes talks about the "Mission Statement". It is a statement by John FORESTER, author of Effective Cycling:
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated like vehicular traffic.
The CAN-BIKE program was built on the teachings of John FORESTER, and continues to this day using those same principals and values. The reason is - they work.
Cycling is an endeavor that requires those involved to be aware of their surroundings, and those also in their surroundings. I would call this defensive cycling.
Those that cycle have as many reasons as there are cyclists to explain what they do and why.
The commonality that I believe must cross over all these thoughts is Safety. This is where the idea and principal - See, Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Predicable comes back again and again.
I started this entry talking about bike lanes. I'm going to come back to them and point out that safety is the common factor whether you are in the bike lanes or on the streets and roads of our great lands.
It's great to be right, but do you want to be dead right.
Both bike lanes and streets/roads have those that want to go faster than those around them, and cause safety problems. We hear regularly about road rage, but we rarely hear about bike rage, but it's there.
Safety is everyone's responsibility.
We have to share the riding surface with others, be they vehicles, walkers, other riders, skateboarders, wheel chairs etc.
It has been said in more than one place by people far greater and smarter than me "Death doesn't take a holiday", and if we want to keep death away, then we should add, "Safety should never take a holiday" either.
I would ask that when you ride you consider the Core Principals that I believe in. That being; wear your orange, yellow or bright lime green Hi-Viz vest, helmet and use your lights, anytime of the day and night.
Yes, I know you have heard those words before in my previous entries, and I suspect you will hear them again in upcoming entries. I also know my choice of colours is loud and not exactly fashion, but at the end of the ride when you are back, tired, sweaty and feeling great, you will realise that those colours directly assisted in the successful conclusion to your ride.
AND THAT IS A GOOD THING !!
Safe ride home