Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bike lanes in York Region

It's true! I rode on one today.

I dropped off my car to see if it can get through the emmisions test then rode a different route to work. There is in fact a bike lane on Bantry Ave. It happens to be improperly marked, and leads the cyclist into the right turn lane at Bayview Ave., but it's better than nothing.

This leads me into the debate of whether or not bike lanes are really needed or safe. Read this if you don't know what I'm talking about. I was shocked the first time I read it, and thought for a while that I must be reading something written by Dick Cheney on cycling. After more reading, I started to realize that there is a lot of sense to the argument. The problem is that it is very intimidating for a new cyclist to get on the road with fast cars. My opinion: I like bike lanes, whether they're on the road or raised beside the sidewalk. The reason is basically that it makes people feel more comfortable on their bikes and more likely to consider riding. And it makes drivers a tiny bit more aware that there could be a cyclist nearby and how much room is safe to give. They are definitely not the best and only solution.

My preference would be lots of designated bike routes along residential streets, low on stop signs, that may or may not include bike lanes. In a way, I could just ride on my own bike routes, pretend they're officially designated and be perfectly happy. Actually, that's almost what I'm doing, and I am very happy with the route I've found and how little I have to deal with cars.

A simple change that everyone could benefit from would be if cities would put short paths in residential areas to connect cul-de-sacs. Lot's of places have these paths, but where they're missing, a cyclist might be forced onto a major road (and probably just won't cycle). This makes a big difference in opening up bike route options. It can easily create a network that covers the whole city, without the cost of a huge network of bikeways. Please bring on the bikeways next though!

Darren J 9/07/2005 11:01:00 a.m.


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