Cycling infrastructure outside Victoria limited to painted lanes, ‘chunks’, lawyer says

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While Victoria continues to build a cycle network of connected routes designed for all ages and abilities, cycling infrastructure outside the core remains a mix of unconnected and unprotected lanes, according to a cycling advocate.

There are only short “chunks” of protected lanes outside of Victoria that lead to unprotected lanes or no cycle lanes, making cyclists more vulnerable to vehicles on the road, said Corey Burger , President of Policy and Infrastructure at Capital Bike.

This means that bicycle commuters outside of Victoria often share a lane with high-speed vehicle traffic or rely on a painted line for their safety.

“At worst, it can be really terrible,” Burger said.

Colwood County. Cynthia Day recently attempted to add protected bike lanes to an overhaul of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Wishart Road, but her proposal was rejected by other councilors.

Com. Stewart Parkinson said the October meeting was the first time he’s heard of the idea, and there’s plenty of time for changes before the project is finished. The redesign, which will add two lanes to the Veterans Memorial Parkway between Latoria Road and Cairndale Road, could end up including protected cycle paths, Parkinson said. The design currently includes painted cycle lanes with a buffer space between the lane and vehicle lanes.

“The road we’re talking about won’t be built for, dammit, 10, 15 years, so there’s no rush to make that decision,” he said. “I am a huge fan of trying to put our vital infrastructure in place. And go from the right places to the right places. I just didn’t see the sense of jumping to a conclusion during the meeting.

Dave Lacey, a resident of Colwood, regularly rides a bike with his two children and says his eight-year-old daughter sometimes feels nervous around vehicles and has to ride on the sidewalk.

“It’s a really sad part, as a parent. Not having anything she feels safe on is difficult, ”he said.

Lacey said the painted lanes won’t encourage new riders because many people don’t feel safe using them.

Burger said that although about half of the area’s arteries have a bicycle lane, only 1% are physically separated from traffic.

Each municipality has its own approach and challenges when it comes to building cycling infrastructure, including small budgets and sparse populations, he said. Langford has built many cycle paths compared to other towns, but they are unprotected and the municipality is building them to minimum design guidelines, which only require a width of 1.5 meters, Burger said.

When they are next to motor vehicle lanes which are also of minimum width, that leaves little room for maneuver to eventually switch to protected lanes, he said.

In Colwood, new bike lanes are often lines painted on the road, with a second line on the outside of the lane creating a buffer zone between bikes and cars. Burger wants to see this standard upgraded to include terminals or similar physical separation of cars.

While municipalities beyond Victoria have yet to reach the point where they are building connected networks of cycling infrastructure, some, like Saanich and Esquimalt, are planning those networks, said Burger, who believes every municipality will eventually. build infrastructure for all ages and abilities.

“It’s really about how quickly they get there,” he said.

Urban planning has moved beyond a time when roads were redesigned without accommodating bicycles, Burger said. Now municipalities are under pressure to ensure that these lanes are separated from motor vehicles.

“We now know that if you don’t build a protected cycle path, you aren’t going to publish the numbers. You won’t get diversity either. You will not see the children and families. You won’t see people like the elderly who could get back to cycling for the first time in a long time, ”he said.

However, big changes are unlikely to happen quickly. Burger said parents often ask when it is safe to cycle to school with their children. “Probably not with your child while your child is still a child,” he tells them.

What is needed is the political will of city councils to push for better cycling infrastructure, Burger said. He expects to see a snowball effect once the first protected cycle paths outside the core are built.

Victoria’s growing network is already increasing the pressure on other municipalities, as people come from the suburbs to the city center, take the protected cycle lanes and begin to advocate with their councils for similar infrastructure, he said. .

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