Cycle routes are so often made dangerous by obstacles – why is it so hard for people to understand that bikes cannot fly? Have we just seen images from ET too many times?
Anyway, contrary to what anyone might think, the average cyclist does NOT carry an extra-terrestrial in their front basket in case of sudden obstacles in the road. The photo below was taken in Minneapolis and is courtesy of @ARTCRANK and @kStafki. As @ARTCRANK said, while we cyclists appreciate the sentiment, the placement – not so much.
I come across this kind of thing almost every day – places where cyclists seem to be expected to just fly over obstacles in the cycle route.
Sometimes it’s the very people who are supposed to help us who actually endanger us – flag people standing in the middle of the cycle route, or police cars parked in cycle routes – as I saw in downtown Vancouver last week (see pics above and below). I don’t know what was going on, but one thing is for sure: people were parked and standing all over a major downtown cycle route, at rush hour, seeming not to care if they were putting cyclists in danger. I guess they thought cyclists could just FLY over them. I stood and watched as cyclist after cyclist was forced to swerve into two lanes of cars – often while going in the opposite direction. Wow – way to keep the city safe, Vancouver Police!
This is not just a pet peeve. This kind of stupidity on cycle routes leads to cyclist injury and death.
I am feeling sad today because a cyclist was killed yesterday at Beta and Lougheed – my old neighborhood. He was leaving Brentwood Mall, heading down the very steep part of Beta towards Lougheed Highway. The part of Beta where he was killed is typical of Burnaby planning: it seems to assume that no one walks or bikes ANYWHERE.
If you’re not in a car, you’re crazy anyway, and you’d better just fly or die.
On the bright side, Brentwood Mall is being redeveloped, and part of the plan is to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, with road narrowing and crosswalks. There are also rumors that the area will be made more cycling-friendly. Well, it could not be LESS pedestrian and bike friendly, and this is highlighted by the death of this cyclist.
If nothing else, I hope that the Brentwood Mall planners will be motivated to provide safe infrastructure and cycle routes so that no one else has to die after shopping at the Mall.
This kind of problem also occurs on dedicated so-called cycle routes. The other day I was cycling along the main cycle route from Burnaby to Vancouver, when I suddenly came across a lake, complete with a large number of ducks! Luckily the sun had already risen, so I did not cycle straight into the lake. This photo was taken the next day, when someone had wisely thought to put up a pylon to warn cyclists and joggers about the sudden lake. You just never know when there’s suddenly going to be a lake-full of ducks in your cycle route!
That problem felt quite minor when I heard about the cyclists who had to tunnel through 40 feet of snow that had been dumped on their cycle route in Boston! Read about how they rose to that challenge in this post.
This kind of thing happens all over the world. For example, in Sydney, the city decided to demolish a separated cycling route, College Street Cycleway, despite the fact that it was an important connector for cyclists, and despite the fact that cyclists protested vigorously. Signs directed cyclists to take an alternate route – but of course, none was provided.
Back in Vancouver, I encountered a serious obstacle on Main Street in Vancouver, when the powers that be decided to put a pedestrian walkway on top of the cycle route at a very busy intersection. For months cyclists had to swerve into the path of buses and cars to avoid this. Finally I made a video about it and pestered the city with it – and then suddenly the walkway was removed. Read all about that in this post. Below is the video.
We encountered a similar situation in Richmond, where the cycle route suddenly stopped – right in the middle of a highway! And we were not on the highway on purpose – the cycle route took us there. Crazy! Read all about this truly scary cycle route here (How to Cycle around the Island of Richmond – and Survive).
I wrote to the City of Richmond about this, and they responded to say that they are planning great improvements to this cycle route (see this post). I guess that is the big positive here – there are as many problems with cycling infrastructure as there are people on earth, but at least now – finally – people all over the world are working to make cycle routes safer and better. I mean, look at this before and after photo of the cycle route on Hornby Street, Vancouver, for example. There is HOPE!
Did you like this post or find it useful? If so, please support our blog:
By simply clicking on one of the Amazon links before buying from Amazon; or on one of the links for Jensen USA, Competitive Cyclist or REI. Small commissions help pay for our time. It costs you nothing at all except a click. Or, if you are planning a vacation, please book your hotel by first clicking here for HotelTravel.com. Or SHARE this post (using the Share buttons) or LIKE our Facebook page. BEST OF ALL – just SUBSCRIBE to our blog (click on the link below, next to Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist’s smiling face). It makes you part of our community, gives you a free download of our Bike Buyer’s Guide, and gets you free weekly updates about our posts. Thanks in advance – reader support keeps us going and makes it all worthwhile!