Cycling for Everyone: Develop a complete cycling network that feels safe and attractive to all
Studies show that most people are open to the idea of cycling, but are discouraged by routes that don't feel safe enough. Vancouver should build a complete network of cycling routes that feel safe and attractive to all, including children, seniors, and novice cyclists. On arterials and other busy streets, bike routes should be physically separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or other barriers (the Carrall Street Greenway and new Dunsmuir bike lanes are good examples). Quieter neighbourhood routes can be made safer through improved traffic calming including reduced motor vehicle speed limits.
Links: http://vancouver.ca/cycling (City of Vancouver), http://translink.ca/cycling (TransLink)
An ongoing process. Many of the City’s recent initiatives (e.g. downtown separated bike lane trial, additional traffic calming on existing routes) work towards this vision. The draft Greenest City action plan will support this idea, and include directions to help inform the upcoming transportation plan update and new active transportation plan.
NOTE: Vadim's idea "Bike paths, bike paths and more bike paths. Close down the streets, make more room for bicycles" has been merged wtih this one.
People will bike more if they feel like it's safe and easy to do. Clothes down more streets and make them bicycle only streets. That would be amazing. The peace and quiet, the safety of a car-less street. Open up long greenways and separate bicycle traffic to make it safe. More people will ride if it's safe. Make electric bikes more accessible/affordable for people who can't peddle. Has anyone been to China... people use bicycles and electric bicycles everywhere to commute and run errands. There is no reason it can't be done here... but you must create a safe infrastructure that is SEPARATE from car traffic. Bicycling is not only good for environment, it's good for you... get BC Health to support/fund it too. Less people will need medical care. Give tax credits or incentives for people to own bikes. Make bike rentals a city program, where you can pick up a bike and drop off a bike at major interchanges. Give bicyclists priority checkout at the supermarket, discount movie passes, etc. Make it visible by adding all kinds of creative incentives for people to start riding. Make 3-wheel bikes available to those who can't do it on two wheels. But again, best of all... build major bike greenways separate from cars to people can commute to work.
Has everyone heard of Ciclovia?
I propose Vancouver takes the cue from Bogota, and infuses cycling directly into our city-culture. We then have more onus to plan with cycling in mind. See the article for more info:
I have no problem with a license for cyclists, but such systems are very expensive to set up and adminster and I doubt this would be net cash positive for the city. I also doubt it is within the city's jurisdiction. Cyclists have to step up and create a culture of responsible cycling. Laws are enforced by social norms and cyclists on the streets have to start talking to each other about this. We also need to do a better job separating cyclists and pedestrians before a cyclist kills a pedestrian in an accident.
Janine Brossard commented
Please could you make the following bike route safer: going north off the Burrard Bridge you make a hard right down the laneway bike route leading to the seawall. When you go down the steep hill to the T-junction it is very hard to see cars coming left or right and they can't see you on your bike. It's quite dangerous. Many thanks.
While I do agree that a cycling network should be created, I feel that the bikers who use this network should be more educated. Too many cyclers rip through stop signs and red lights and also ride around on sidewalks and crosswalks interfering with pedestrians. It just seems they lack proper road etiquette.
People who commute by driving a car/truck need a license, so why don't bikers? A cycling license would be as easy as charging $5 and taking an online test and getting a license number. This $5 could also go towards the maintenance of cycling routes. This may not be the best solution as it could potentially limit children from having fun but at least it would provide a measure of safety for cyclers of all ages!
Rather than have people debate James Twowheeler's ideas in the abstract, I would like to see the city experiment more. The experiments should be as public as possible, with clear hypotheses being tested, and we may need to include some form of monetary compensation for people who are disadvantaged by the experiment. There may be some opportunities to come up with original financing options for these experiments as well. Perhaps there are grants the city could go after in partnership with the universities. In cases where there are possible commercial off shoots the private sector could help fund. ... I suspect that streets with wider sidewalks, more life on the sidewalks, and good alternate transportation access will be at least as economically vibrant as current shopping streets (I avoid stores and restaurants on Broadway and find even Commercial and West 4th a bit too traffic heavy to be comfortable), but that is a hypotheses that I would like to see tested.
James Twowheeler commented
@GCPT. Travis Martin's idea goes too far. Removing parking is unpalatable to local businesses. Instead we should remove a lane of through-traffic, which offers no local economic benefit, nudging parked cars a meter or two from the curb.
Here are some diagrams: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AufCS6E3wDmsdGtxaVoyd1JCOWNpWFBZdGJMXzJJOVE&output=html&gridlines=false
Nico Dicecco commented
This idea is good, although it does have an inherent ablist bias in its title. Accessible alternative transportation is the goal, not necessarily just cycling.
Note: Travis Martin's idea "A cycling network that makes biking appealing whether you’re 4, 24 or 84 yrs old." has been merged with this one.
Daily cycling is one of the best ways to stay healthy and move around the city in a convenient and fast way. While Vancouver’s cycling network is ahead of many North American cities it is far from safe for 4 and 84 year olds. Many 24 year olds even find the narrow streets and ever present ‘door zone’ to frightful to consider cycling as a means of transportation.
The Netherlands is a prime example of how in 30 years a country has been transformed in into to a lean cycling nation. We should take a similar approach, which means acknowledging pedestrians, cyclists and cars as equally valid and changing the existing conditions to reflect this perspective. Separated bike lanes are the ultimate goal to getting 4-84 year olds on their bikes, but there are many easier and cheaper steps along the way.
Easy first steps for Residential Bikeways (eg. 7th, 10th, Union etc):
1. Create opposing One-way streets to eliminate through traffic.
2. Provide only one parking lane/no parking.
3. Mark bike lanes in each direction, allowing cars to share with one bike lane OR make a narrow central car lane that requires the car to be a guest in either bike lane depending on bike traffic.
Car As Visitor
← bike (2m)
car (1.5-2m) →
bike (2m) >
Parking (1.7m) →
Shared with Car
← bike (2-3m)
Parking (1.7m) →
Separated lanes/No Parking/No car?
< bike (1.7 - 3 m)
bike (1.7 - 3 m) >
Car (0-3.3 m) < or >
Add Bike Elevators to high potential bike routes on hills (e.g. West 4th to UBC or the East 6th bike route to Commercial Drive past VCC).
See http://www.trampe.no/english/ for an example of a university town in Norway with high hills and high bike usage!
Is there a global bike to work week? We need partnerships with other green cities around the world to send a yearly global message to everyone else.
This is the best idea. Get BC Health involved too because bicycling is not only good for the environment, it's good for you. More people cycling = a healthier city = less expenditure on medical care. Introduce electric bicycling for people who can't peddle uphill.
NOTE: Jacob's post "Improving Bike Use In The City" has been merged with this one.
These ideas came from the Greenest City Social Media Brainstorming Session on September 20th, 2010.
"Implement bike program similar to Copenhagen – 3000 bikes, painted pink, communal bikes not locked up, maintenance paid through subtle advertising on bikes, small fines for taking bikes outside of city limits,
Bike program similar to zip cars / co-op cars.
Helmet law is an issue (people would need to bring own helmet.)
Bike license program – small annual fee, bike owner gets subsidized bike repair, insurance, how to you keep insurance fee from being an obstacle to bike riding.
Issue: overcoming fear of driving in city. Need to reduce car usage in downtown core (like Copenhagen—reduced parking spots each year, started heated bus shelters, etc.)
How to incentivize business owners to give up street parking spots?
Link between safety and bike lanes.
Road safety: road rage, car doors opening, driver awareness of bikes
Ideas to improve bike safety: paint bike lanes bright green, signage reminding drivers to be careful when opening doors, central corridor for bike paths (N-S; E-W).
If you support bike lanes in the city, write in and share your support.
Montreal/Paris/DC – short term bike rental programs.
Bike storage is an issue with apartments.
Incentives for building owners and hotels to offer communal bikes for residents and guests. (e.g., building would be required to build less parking stalls if they had communal bikes)"
I would love to see less stop signs on bicycle roads.
Vancouver Design Nerds commented
Strongly agree with Arthur G's point about:
"better integrate cycling into public transportation systems would dramatically increase the bike's potential utility."
Can we not add more than two bike racks on the buses?
In general Tax Free's comment makes sense as long as they are real bike lanes, and have good signaling so that one can actually get into a groove.
On the other hand, I personally do enjoy the jostle and risk of urban cycling, but I don't expect most people to ride as much or as intensely as I do.
@satya For special events when heavy cyclist traffic is expected I would highly recommend that organizers hire a bike valet service to avoid this problem. Both BEST and VACC offer such services. Our October 1st Open House and Ideas Slam event will have a bike valet to accomodate the amount of bike traffic we are expecting.
MORE BIKE RACKS!!!!!!!
Last year's Yoga Conference at Canada Place - hundreds of bicycles hooked up to the benches, fences and poles. Still NO bike rack for this year's Yoga Conference, starting Sep. 30th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please get
with it, CITY!!!!!!
Tax Free commented
To get vehicles and bikes apart do not put bike lanes on main roads.
Put them on the side streets like the bike route on Ontario st. Does anyone really like cycling next to vehicle traffic with all the fumes and then a Diesel tourist bus comes by spewing tons of black smoke. Blehh
Bike licensing? To pay for subsidized repairs? I repair my own bike so it's just a tax. To buy insurance? I have insurance for myself and I don't need insurance for others because I'm not the squisher, I'm the squishee. The City should pay ME for not wearing down the roads with a heavy car, for not polluting, and for saving on parking space.