Cycling in Montreal a while ago, I really enjoyed their bicycle traffic signals. It made it so easy to know how to cycle safely. There are many places in the Lower Mainland where it is very confusing – Adanac and Main in Vancouver to name one; Caribou and Government in Burnaby to name another.
So what are our chances of getting traffic signals for bicycles here in the Lower Mainland?
Back in August this year, Moreno Zanotto (of the Burnaby VACC) wrote a letter to Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia, on the subject of Traffic Signals for Bikes. Here it is:
With the rapid increase to cycling volumes, intersections are in need of bicycle traffic signals. Currently, the motor vehicle act does not legally recognise bike traffic signals as a traffic control device, which negates there use.
Many jurisdictions in the USA, including Portland and New York, have bike traffic signals as part of their standard tools for traffic control devices.
I urgently request that amendments be made to the MVA to legally recognise bike traffic signals, so they may be deployed at intersections dealing with high volumes of cycle traffic.
Three months later, Shirley Bond, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure with the BC Government, got back to Moreno with some interesting information:
Premier Gordon Campbell has asked me to respond on his behalf to your e-mail of regarding traffic signals for bikes. Please accept my apologies for the lateness of this reply.
I recognize the economic, environmental and health benefits that increased cycling infrastructure can bring to a community. Since 2001, we have invested $128 million in cycling infrastructure in over 50 communities, making cycling a safer, more attractive transportation and recreational option for British Columbians.
With respect to the installation of bicycle signals at intersections, as you mention this may require a supporting amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act. I hope you’ll be pleased to know that ministry staff are discussing this matter with staff at the City of Vancouver. You may also wish to share your support of such a measure with City of Vancouver staff directly. Elizabeth Ballard, Traffic Management Engineer for the City of Vancouver, can be reached at 604 873-7393 or by e-mail at Elizabeth.Ballard@vancouver.ca.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Kirk Rockerbie, the ministry’s Manager of Transportation Policy. He can be reached at 250 953-3068 or by e mail at Kirk.Rockerbie@gov.bc.ca and would be pleased to assist you.
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Shirley Bond, Minister
Copy to: Premier Gordon Campbell
Kirk Rockerbie, Manager, Transportation Policy
Elizabeth Ballard, Traffic Management Engineer, City of Vancouver
So there it is: there is a possibility we might get traffic signals for bicycles. And if you want to encourage the authorities to give us traffic signals, contact any (or preferably all) of the people below:
Elizabeth Ballard, Traffic Management Engineer for the City of Vancouver: 604 873-7393 or Elizabeth.Ballard@vancouver.ca
Kirk Rockerbie, Manager, Transportation Policy: 250 953-3068 or Kirk.Rockerbie@gov.bc.ca
UPDATE: Now we DO have some bike traffic signals, on the new Hornby Bike Lane. Unfortunately, this provision for cyclists is apparently causing motorists so much confusion that flag people have had to be deployed. I wonder if it’s just the shock of actual infrastructure being provided for cyclists that is causing such widespread confusion?
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