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Trashy Bike Lane 55

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo of garbage bike lane by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

On the morning of November 7th, a pregnant woman was killed by the back wheels of a truck in Toronto while riding her bike to pick up her son at school. As a result of Jenna Morrison’s tragic and avoidable death, various cycling advocates have been brainstorming ideas for how we can help prevent a similar collision from happening again.

Federal Member of Parliament Olivia Chow has proposed a Bill to the House of Commons for mandatory side-guards on trucks to help prevent cyclists from falling into the underside of a truck and getting run over by the rear wheels. Side guards are an initiative I support, and have been mandatory in the U.K. and the European Union for more than 20 years.

Last week I gave an interview to CBC Radio’s Rita Celli explaining my support for side guards, while also explaining that safety doesn’t stop at side guards. There is much more we need to do to improve conditions to make cycling more comfortable and safe.

Yesterday morning I met up with Dave Meslin (the Founder of the Toronto Cyclists Union) to measure the dimensions of the intersection where Jenna was killed so we can propose a new design design to make bicyclists more visible and help to reduce conflict between drivers and cyclists. Hopefully a better design on this street might prevent another incident like this from happening.

To see how a bike lane might work on this street we gathered garbage and sticks and created a homemade bike lane. The painted bicycle symbols (or “sharrows”) were painted by an anonymous group/person shortly after Jenna’s death.

We observed how cars and trucks drove with our “trash” bike lane present. Drivers seemed to stay clear of our faux bike lane when they drove through the intersection, including a large tractor-trailer whose rear wheels stayed clear of our bike lane.

Read about our trash bike lane on Mez’s blog: “Re:Cycling – This is how bike lanes save lives

Jenna was on the right side of a truck just before the Stop sign when the truck proceeded to turn right. The side of the truck apparently knocked Jenna off her bike and the rear wheels subsequently ran over her.

Having a bike lane might prevent this type of collision from occurring by giving a cyclist more space and making a truck driver more aware that a cyclist might be present.

This street is not unique in Toronto – there is no shortage of intersections that could be re-designed to positively improve the comfort and safety of cyclists.

Before we created the trash bike lane:

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

AFTER photos:

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Toronto bike lane made of trash

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

You may notice that there was significantly less garbage on the bike lane in the last two photos. This is because we had already cleared our trash bike lane when we spotted this truck approaching the intersection. As the truck was approaching we quickly re-applied some of the garbage just in time.

Despite the truck’s length and the narrow composition of the vehicle lane at this intersection the truck was still able to prevent his rear wheels from entering our 1.5 metre bike lane.

In a similar, but more permanent initiative, a group of advocates in Mexico painted their own 5km bike lane.

We cannot let Jenna’s tragic, untimely and senseless death be in vain. Positive change needs to happen to prevent someone else from experiencing the same fate.

Next step, use our measurements to design a new intersection that is inclusive of cyclists. Stay tuned.

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

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  • Montrealize

    I am not sure I am understanding the point of the experiment you did.

    The reason cars and trucks kept off your constructed “lane” is that it was made of garbage, which could potentially puncture their tires. Had it been painted on the road, trucks and cars would have rolled on it with abandon. I have plenty of pictures to prove that.

    All this proves to me is that bike PATHS (i.e. segragated) are superior to bike LANES (example, http://montrealize-montrealize.blogspot.com/2011/10/in-ghetto.html), because they provide a protection, along with proper traffic lights and signs.

    But this we have known for years so… ?

    • http://www.t.isgood.ca TOisGood

      I thought it was trying to demonstrate there’s lots of room on the road to add a bike lane. I’m sure we’d all prefer a segregated lane.

      • Montrealize

        Oh, ok…
        Well, from what the last picture shows, I would not say there is enough space for trucks as they would have to roll over the yellow line and they typically don’t like doing that. Therefore, they will roll on the bike lane, cancelling out any benefit expected from such lane. They must be forced out of the cyclists’ path otherwise it is a waste of money.

        A complete redesign of this road with a path would be much better along with an “advancement of sidewalk” with the path going through it. Ok, I don’t know the proper english name for that but the sidewalk extends over the road at the intersection to prevent cars from turning squarely. They have to manoeuver around the “sidewalk advancement” while cyclists cut through straight ahead.
        Kind of like this:
        http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Curb_extensions_at_midblock_crosswalk.jpg
        But with a bike path.

        Better even, ban trucks from the city. Have them discharge their loads on the outskirts of town and have light mini-vans doing the delivery inside the city.

        We can only obtain what we ask for. No better.

        • dr2chase

          Except that in this picture at least, the truck still fit in the remaining lane. A big reason for unloading the truck into smaller vehicles (assuming that they are enough smaller) is that road wear is proportional to at least the 3rd power of the wheel weight; a fully loaded “18-wheeler” (80,000 lbs) does as much damage as 3000 compact cars (2000 lbs).

          The sidewalk thing you describe appears to be called a “bump out”. That’s what I recall hearing, I went looking for a synonym for what I thought was obviously a colloquial term, and all I found, was “bump out”.

        • Seqkushicyclinggc

          It is cost prohibitive to do this to all roads, on rd bike lane paint with vibralines as exists on freeways is the answer

          • Tallycyclist

            Nobody does this on all roads, not even in Holland. But there’s no reason to not put in separated infrastructure at least on the major/heavy-traffic roads. It’s not a matter of not having funding, but prioritizing. When most of the budget is put towards motorized traffic only, then of course roads that get built are only going to be accommodating cars. Even as we speak, cities in the US continue to widen roads or add lanes, when if they wanted to, they could have invested in alternative transportation infrastructure instead.

            Painted lines may be okay on roads that have light car traffic, and also low speeds. Not many people want to cycle next to cars going 45, 50 or 55 mph, even with a painted bike lane. But even if well done, they will still not be able to match the subjective safety of separated lanes.

    • D Web

      The problem with separated bike paths is that cars are always cutting you off coming out of their driveways so they can see the oncoming traffic. Many cities have abandoned that idea. Bike lanes with reflector posts every couple meters would vastly reduce the fatalities.

      • Tallycyclist

        I think cities that abandon the idea of segregated bike lanes (if they even had it in the first place) do so because they don’t want to invest the cost of putting them in and do not want to potentially take any space away from motorist. Based on all the blogs and articles I’ve read about segregated paths, I venture that another possible reason to not implement these facilities is the realization that these lanes will actually increase ridership significantly if done correctly. The 2 European countries that do this best, Netherlands and Denmark, also have by far the highest rates of cyclists.

        The driveway issue as a challenge is no different in those two countries and they dealt with it by making the bike tracks have priority over these driveways most of the time, with clear marking or other amenities in place. Check out this article by Mark who explains this in detail:

        http://hembrow.blogspot.com/search?q=driveways.

        Sure, drivers in those two bike-friendly countries are also more careful and courteous towards cyclists, but it’s the entire traffic system (enforcement, % ridership, physical infrastructure) that determines how the different modal groups behave in the first place. It takes time to facilitate such a culture like what the Dutch and Danes have, but if we don’t start somewhere with things that have proven to work, we’ll never get anywhere. Painted bike lanes, when done well, are definitely better than nothing. But that alone is not likely to ever get us to where the the northern European countries are.

        • Clark in Vancouver

          It could very well be that the opposition to separated lanes is because they’re so good and will result in more cycling.
          Not to seem conspiratorial but the automakers have already reached what’s being called “peak car sales” and are seeing their sales go down every year at the same time as bike manufacturing and infrastructure is increasing. Maybe they’re pulling some strings or greasing some palms of politicians to create some opposition to the velorevolution.

          In Toronto, if Mayor Ford says that he’s against anything that prevents auto traffic flow, then cycling advocates need to design their infrastructure demands in a way that shows that it won’t. Then it can be argued that he can’t be against it.
          For example instead of presenting a separated lane as taking away room for cars, present it as getting bikes out of the way of cars. The result is the same.

          • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

            Oh trust me, even if we showed Mayor Ford that bike infrastructure reduces congestion there would be a laundry list of other excuses (myths) for not building bike infrastructure. Here are a few: cyclists aren’t licensed, cyclists don’t obey the law, cyclists don’t pay for the roads, delivery trucks won’t be able to deliver goods, businesses will suffer, it snows too much here, bikes are toys, etc…

            Gee, can you tell I’m cynical? ;)

  • Montrealize

    I am not sure I am understanding the point of the experiment you did.

    The reason cars and trucks kept off your constructed “lane” is that it was made of garbage, which could potentially puncture their tires. Had it been painted on the road, trucks and cars would have rolled on it with abandon. I have plenty of pictures to prove that.

    All this proves to me is that bike PATHS (i.e. segragated) are superior to bike LANES (example, http://montrealize-montrealize.blogspot.com/2011/10/in-ghetto.html), because they provide a protection, along with proper traffic lights and signs.

    But this we have known for years so… ?

  • Green Mark

    Very cool experiment and a very appropriate site to do it

  • Green Mark

    Very cool experiment and a very appropriate site to do it

  • http://www.t.isgood.ca/ TOisGood

    I thought it was trying to demonstrate there’s lots of room on the road to add a bike lane. I’m sure we’d all prefer a segregated lane.

  • Alicia

    Great idea! And very well done.
    Very sad about the tragedy that spurred it.

  • Alicia

    Great idea! And very well done.
    Very sad about the tragedy that spurred it.

  • John Rawlins

    I believe there is an equally good case for making the approach lanes much narrower. Such lanes would force cyclists to take the lane rather squeeze past trucks on the inside. Narrow lanes also force drivers to slow down when approaching.

    Road accident statistics in London (UK) suggest that women cyclists are especially at risk of being side-swiped and killed by trucks at junctions. It isn’t clear why women are especially vulnerable, but it has been suggested that women are less likely to assertively take the lane and more likely to try and squeeze past (unnoticed) on the inside.

    http://cycling-intelligence.com/2011/10/05/cyclist-killed-at-kings-cross-a-predictable-death/

    • dr2chase

      “Forcing people to take the lane”, as if they didn’t have the alternative to say “screw this scary stuff, I’m driving!”. We’ve been preaching “take the lane” here in the US for decades, and look at the ride share we get for all that.

      • Al Dimond

        If we instead draw lanes that place cylcists to the right of right-turning traffic, and teach them this is the correct way to ride, we’re just inviting accidents.

        • dr2chase

          That’s not helpful. Do you want them in cars, or on bikes? If nobody rides bikes, indeed, the bicycle accident rate does go to zero, but that’s not what we want. If a stripe of paint is not enough, perhaps a curb. Maybe a bollard, or caltrops. Car drivers are armored, I think we can give them some incentives to pay attention to their lane discipline, it’s not like they’re at risk of personal injury.

          Approximately nobody is comfortable “taking the lane”. Some of us who do it, are not necessarily comfortable with it, so “approximately nobody” means a minority of our already pathetic bicycle ride share.

          There is a magical country in a faraway land over the sea, where they have double-digit bicycle ride share, exceeding 50% in some cities, and they have the safest biking on the planet. Why don’t we do what they do, instead of repeating proven-useless (for increasing ride share) slogans from Effective Cycling?

    • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com Mr.S.

      Sounds like ‘vehicular cycling’ to me, and since I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, I won’t assume you are one of those dogmatists. You can’t apply any dogma to the fluidity of traffic, especially in the Canadian city with the highest cyclist mortality rate, presuming the most aggressive, careless and selfish drivers.

      I live in Tokyo now. Tokyo or Toronto, you have to ride as if nobody sees you, because it’s too often true (though much less often in Tokyo). You also have to keep in your mind resentment filled drivers (in Toronto, not Tokyo): probably not the case in Jenna Morrison’s killing*.

      She should have been able to live coming up the inside of the truck’s turning radius. Do not get confused about this. Whether it was her error or not, the driver signalled or not, or could have seen her in the mirrors or not, the driver should not have killed her.

      Yet, though she should still be alive, no matter which person made what gravity of error, I rarely go up the inside of a turn. Again, I am not blaming Jenna Morrison, because it should not be as dangerous to do that as it is. It is dangerous because many drivers are careless, mirrors are badly designed or aimed, or not used, and the penalties of hitting, much less killing, someone are not onerous enough to change driver behaviour. Side guards will not protect against all of these issues, and when these issues are better addressed even without the side guards as in Tokyo, you can have a pedestrian and cycling fatality rate that is one-quarter.

      Please, please ride like every driver is an @$$ or crazy. Presume they will turn into your path without signalling, or the opposite direction to their signal. The good thing about pessimism is you can only have good surprises.

      *’Death’ means there’s no human agent; ‘killing’ means there was a human agent of whatever culpability.

  • John Rawlins

    I believe there is an equally good case for making the approach lanes much narrower. Such lanes would force cyclists to take the lane rather squeeze past trucks on the inside. Narrow lanes also force drivers to slow down when approaching.

    Road accident statistics in London (UK) suggest that women cyclists are especially at risk of being side-swiped and killed by trucks at junctions. It isn’t clear why women are especially vulnerable, but it has been suggested that women are less likely to assertively take the lane and more likely to try and squeeze past (unnoticed) on the inside.

    http://cycling-intelligence.com/2011/10/05/cyclist-killed-at-kings-cross-a-predictable-death/

  • Montrealize

    Oh, ok…
    Well, from what the last picture shows, I would not say there is enough space for trucks as they would have to roll over the yellow line and they typically don’t like doing that. Therefore, they will roll on the bike lane, cancelling out any benefit expected from such lane. They must be forced out of the cyclists’ path otherwise it is a waste of money.

    A complete redesign of this road with a path would be much better along with an “advancement of sidewalk” with the path going through it. Ok, I don’t know the proper english name for that but the sidewalk extends over the road at the intersection to prevent cars from turning squarely. They have to manoeuver around the “sidewalk advancement” while cyclists cut through straight ahead.
    Kind of like this:
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Curb_extensions_at_midblock_crosswalk.jpg
    But with a bike path.

    Better even, ban trucks from the city. Have them discharge their loads on the outskirts of town and have light mini-vans doing the delivery inside the city.

    We can only obtain what we ask for. No better.

  • dr2chase

    “Forcing people to take the lane”, as if they didn’t have the alternative to say “screw this scary stuff, I’m driving!”. We’ve been preaching “take the lane” here in the US for decades, and look at the ride share we get for all that.

  • dr2chase

    Except that in this picture at least, the truck still fit in the remaining lane. A big reason for unloading the truck into smaller vehicles (assuming that they are enough smaller) is that road wear is proportional to at least the 3rd power of the wheel weight; a fully loaded “18-wheeler” (80,000 lbs) does as much damage as 3000 compact cars (2000 lbs).

    The sidewalk thing you describe appears to be called a “bump out”. That’s what I recall hearing, I went looking for a synonym for what I thought was obviously a colloquial term, and all I found, was “bump out”.

  • http://hanlonsrzr.blogspot.com/ Mr.S.

    Sounds like ‘vehicular cycling’ to me, and since I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, I won’t assume you are one of those dogmatists. You can’t apply any dogma to the fluidity of traffic, especially in the Canadian city with the highest cyclist mortality rate, presuming the most aggressive, careless and selfish drivers.

    I live in Tokyo now. Tokyo or Toronto, you have to ride as if nobody sees you, because it’s too often true (though much less often in Tokyo). You also have to keep in your mind resentment filled drivers (in Toronto, not Tokyo): probably not the case in Jenna Morrison’s killing*.

    She should have been able to live coming up the inside of the truck’s turning radius. Do not get confused about this. Whether it was her error or not, the driver signalled or not, or could have seen her in the mirrors or not, the driver should not have killed her.

    Yet, though she should still be alive, no matter which person made what gravity of error, I rarely go up the inside of a turn. Again, I am not blaming Jenna Morrison, because it should not be as dangerous to do that as it is. It is dangerous because many drivers are careless, mirrors are badly designed or aimed, or not used, and the penalties of hitting, much less killing, someone are not onerous enough to change driver behaviour. Side guards will not protect against all of these issues, and when these issues are better addressed even without the side guards as in Tokyo, you can have a pedestrian and cycling fatality rate that is one-quarter.

    Please, please ride like every driver is an @$$ or crazy. Presume they will turn into your path without signalling, or the opposite direction to their signal. The good thing about pessimism is you can only have good surprises.

    *’Death’ means there’s no human agent; ‘killing’ means there was a human agent of whatever culpability.

  • Seqkushicyclinggc

    It is cost prohibitive to do this to all roads, on rd bike lane paint with vibralines as exists on freeways is the answer

  • D Web

    The problem with separated bike paths is that cars are always cutting you off coming out of their driveways so they can see the oncoming traffic. Many cities have abandoned that idea. Bike lanes with reflector posts every couple meters would vastly reduce the fatalities.

  • Tallycyclist

    I think cities that abandon the idea of segregated bike lanes (if they even had it in the first place) do so because they don’t want to invest the cost of putting them in and do not want to potentially take any space away from motorist. Based on all the blogs and articles I’ve read about segregated paths, I venture that another possible reason to not implement these facilities is the realization that these lanes will actually increase ridership significantly if done correctly. The 2 European countries that do this best, Netherlands and Denmark, also have by far the highest rates of cyclists.

    The driveway issue as a challenge is no different in those two countries and they dealt with it by making the bike tracks have priority over these driveways most of the time, with clear marking or other amenities in place. Check out this article by Mark who explains this in detail:

    http://hembrow.blogspot.com/search?q=driveways.

    Sure, drivers in those two bike-friendly countries are also more careful and courteous towards cyclists, but it’s the entire traffic system (enforcement, % ridership, physical infrastructure) that determines how the different modal groups behave in the first place. It takes time to facilitate such a culture like what the Dutch and Danes have, but if we don’t start somewhere with things that have proven to work, we’ll never get anywhere. Painted bike lanes, when done well, are definitely better than nothing. But that alone is not likely to ever get us to where the the northern European countries are.

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethcage Elizabeth Cage

    As enjoyable as riding in fully segregated lanes is the reality is we’ll never have them going everywhere every rider would like to go. Paint is useful for warning motorists to be aware that bicyclists are about. But sometimes we as bicyclists really just need to take the lane for our own safety and we need to encourage other bicyclists to do the same. I think for new cyclists the presumption is that the closer to the curb I ride the safer I will be — which of course is wrong in that it gives motorists the impression they have plenty of passing room when maybe they don’t. Looking at this intersection I think that’s a lane I’m taking whether I’m turning right or going straight ahead. Rare is the driver who wants to hit a bicyclist, sometimes you just have to press your case and keep them behind you.

    • Tallycyclist

      I agree, it’s unrealistic to have segregated facilities everywhere, and nowhere does this happen. Even in Holland and Denmark they only put them on the major and mid-sized roads, or smaller ones with heavy traffic. I can speak from personal experience in Copenhagen. There’s a big difference between cycling on roads without any bike facilities there vs ones in the US. They accommodate where necessary.

      In Denmark, roads without any are like that for a reason: the car traffic is very low and there are often barriers to make drivers drive slowly. And thanks to their inclusive traffic planning for decades, a lot of people cycle, it’s clear who has priority and most drivers are very courteous, even on roads where you have to share or take the lane. This is a huge contrast to my situation in Tallahassee. I already take a minor road to work as the main road is simply impossible to ride in at any time-6 narrow lanes and always very heavy, fast traffic. Unfortunately this ‘alternate’ route has heavy traffic as well, and whoever planned it must have had multiple personality disorder because it goes from having nothing, to sharrows, to nothing, to bike lane (3 short blocks only) back to nothing. The alternative to this? All narrow roads with heavy traffic and absolutely no cycling amenities.

      I see where you’re coming from with the “take the lane.” I have to do it everyday on my commute where the lane with a sharrow marking terminates into a straight/right turn lane. If I don’t take the lane well in advance, I often cannot even get into the straight lane. But as dr2chase stated below, just because some of us do this, doesn’t mean we like it. Indeed, it’s very unpleasant and occasionally I’ll get an impatient driver harassing me. I don’t know about anything else, but having a 6000 lb SUV or pick-up honking and tailgating me is very stressful and oftentimes scary. Most drivers will just pass if I’m towards the right of lane, but I don’t personally want to find out how many will still drive so passively and courteously behind if I take the lane.

      This is the unfortunate reality in most places in the US. Until we change the infrastructure and our drivers education, most people are never going to bike and we’re never going to get a culture that accepts cyclist as a legitimate group commuters. And those that try are probably going to quit pretty quickly. I admit I’m a bike enthusiast who refuses to give in and just drive everywhere, but there are days that even I have to really push myself to bike somewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethcage Elizabeth Cage

    As enjoyable as riding in fully segregated lanes is the reality is we’ll never have them going everywhere every rider would like to go. Paint is useful for warning motorists to be aware that bicyclists are about. But sometimes we as bicyclists really just need to take the lane for our own safety and we need to encourage other bicyclists to do the same. I think for new cyclists the presumption is that the closer to the curb I ride the safer I will be — which of course is wrong in that it gives motorists the impression they have plenty of passing room when maybe they don’t. Looking at this intersection I think that’s a lane I’m taking whether I’m turning right or going straight ahead. Rare is the driver who wants to hit a bicyclist, sometimes you just have to press your case and keep them behind you.

  • Al Dimond

    If we instead draw lanes that place cylcists to the right of right-turning traffic, and teach them this is the correct way to ride, we’re just inviting accidents.

  • dr2chase

    That’s not helpful. Do you want them in cars, or on bikes? If nobody rides bikes, indeed, the bicycle accident rate does go to zero, but that’s not what we want. If a stripe of paint is not enough, perhaps a curb. Maybe a bollard, or caltrops. Car drivers are armored, I think we can give them some incentives to pay attention to their lane discipline, it’s not like they’re at risk of personal injury.

    Approximately nobody is comfortable “taking the lane”. Some of us who do it, are not necessarily comfortable with it, so “approximately nobody” means a minority of our already pathetic bicycle ride share.

    There is a magical country in a faraway land over the sea, where they have double-digit bicycle ride share, exceeding 50% in some cities, and they have the safest biking on the planet. Why don’t we do what they do, instead of repeating proven-useless (for increasing ride share) slogans from Effective Cycling?

  • Tallycyclist

    I agree, it’s unrealistic to have segregated facilities everywhere, and nowhere does this happen. Even in Holland and Denmark they only put them on the major and mid-sized roads, or smaller ones with heavy traffic. I can speak from personal experience in Copenhagen. There’s a big difference between cycling on roads without any bike facilities there vs ones in the US. They accommodate where necessary.

    In Denmark, roads without any are like that for a reason: the car traffic is very low and there are often barriers to make drivers drive slowly. And thanks to their inclusive traffic planning for decades, a lot of people cycle, it’s clear who has priority and most drivers are very courteous, even on roads where you have to share or take the lane. This is a huge contrast to my situation in Tallahassee. I already take a minor road to work as the main road is simply impossible to ride in at any time-6 narrow lanes and always very heavy, fast traffic. Unfortunately this ‘alternate’ route has heavy traffic as well, and whoever planned it must have had multiple personality disorder because it goes from having nothing, to sharrows, to nothing, to bike lane (3 short blocks only) back to nothing. The alternative to this? All narrow roads with heavy traffic and absolutely no cycling amenities.

    I see where you’re coming from with the “take the lane.” I have to do it everyday on my commute where the lane with a sharrow marking terminates into a straight/right turn lane. If I don’t take the lane well in advance, I often cannot even get into the straight lane. But as dr2chase stated below, just because some of us do this, doesn’t mean we like it. Indeed, it’s very unpleasant and occasionally I’ll get an impatient driver harassing me. I don’t know about anything else, but having a 6000 lb SUV or pick-up honking and tailgating me is very stressful and oftentimes scary. Most drivers will just pass if I’m towards the right of lane, but I don’t personally want to find out how many will still drive so passively and courteously behind if I take the lane.

    This is the unfortunate reality in most places in the US. Until we change the infrastructure and our drivers education, most people are never going to bike and we’re never going to get a culture that accepts cyclist as a legitimate group commuters. And those that try are probably going to quit pretty quickly. I admit I’m a bike enthusiast who refuses to give in and just drive everywhere, but there are days that even I have to really push myself to bike somewhere.

  • Clark in Vancouver

    It could very well be that the opposition to separated lanes is because they’re so good and will result in more cycling.
    Not to seem conspiratorial but the automakers have already reached what’s being called “peak car sales” and are seeing their sales go down every year at the same time as bike manufacturing and infrastructure is increasing. Maybe they’re pulling some strings or greasing some palms of politicians to create some opposition to the velorevolution.

    In Toronto, if Mayor Ford says that he’s against anything that prevents auto traffic flow, then cycling advocates need to design their infrastructure demands in a way that shows that it won’t. Then it can be argued that he can’t be against it.
    For example instead of presenting a separated lane as taking away room for cars, present it as getting bikes out of the way of cars. The result is the same.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    Oh trust me, even if we showed Mayor Ford that bike infrastructure reduces congestion there would be a laundry list of other excuses (myths) for not building bike infrastructure. Here are a few: cyclists aren’t licensed, cyclists don’t obey the law, cyclists don’t pay for the roads, delivery trucks won’t be able to deliver goods, businesses will suffer, it snows too much here, bikes are toys, etc…

    Gee, can you tell I’m cynical? ;)

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  • Tallycyclist

    Nobody does this on all roads, not even in Holland. But there’s no reason to not put in separated infrastructure at least on the major/heavy-traffic roads. It’s not a matter of not having funding, but prioritizing. When most of the budget is put towards motorized traffic only, then of course roads that get built are only going to be accommodating cars. Even as we speak, cities in the US continue to widen roads or add lanes, when if they wanted to, they could have invested in alternative transportation infrastructure instead.

    Painted lines may be okay on roads that have light car traffic, and also low speeds. Not many people want to cycle next to cars going 45, 50 or 55 mph, even with a painted bike lane. But even if well done, they will still not be able to match the subjective safety of separated lanes.

  • the_lemur

    That whole intersection needs a redesign. I’m not sure if it’s reasonable to expect anything to be done about the angle at which Sterling meets Dundas, but surely that island of striped paint can be removed and the centre line moved over.
    A little bit of separation between bikes and motor vehicles right at the corner must be possible. And for once I don’t have to resort to my personal cliché of finding pictures from the Netherlands to illustrate this, because I recently found something like it right here in Toronto:

    http://g.co/maps/9qpcz

    I have no idea how long that island has been there or what prompted it (the bike ‘channel’ is not connected to any bike lanes nearby, which is very Toronto), but surely if this is possible in an area like Forest Hill/Davisville, it should be possible in the Junction Triangle.

  • the_lemur

    That whole intersection needs a redesign. I’m not sure if it’s reasonable to expect anything to be done about the angle at which Sterling meets Dundas, but surely that island of striped paint can be removed and the centre line moved over.
    A little bit of separation between bikes and motor vehicles right at the corner must be possible. And for once I don’t have to resort to my personal cliché of finding pictures from the Netherlands to illustrate this, because I recently found something like it right here in Toronto:

    http://g.co/maps/9qpcz

    I have no idea how long that island has been there or what prompted it (the bike ‘channel’ is not connected to any bike lanes nearby, which is very Toronto), but surely if this is possible in an area like Forest Hill/Davisville, it should be possible in the Junction Triangle.

  • markk02474

    The photos of the tractor trailer are instructive. Instead of crossing over the bike lane, the driver crossed over the oncoming traffic lane of the street he was turning on to. Overly constricted turns like this increase danger from truck traffic. Such is how a cyclist died last month in Cambridge Massachusetts on a dark, rainy night. Cambridge had constricted the intersection of two designated trucking routes with 12′ of cub extensions so trailer drivers are always forced to cross over other lanes. This time a cyclist was waiting in the left turn lane at a red light and the driver didn’t see him due to conditions and overly bright kiosk signage (approved by the city) above the cyclist from the driver’s sight line. I wish idiot “traffic calming” designers could be charged with manslaughter for the death.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      …and that is exactly why the yellow line should be moved over… Feel free to inform yourself here: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/12/torontos-urban-repair-squad-strikes.html

      • markk02474

        Thanks for pointing out the other post, I’d not seen it. Yes, moving over the yellow line is necessary. Trucks will make use of needed larger radius while smaller vehicles don’t need it. Around Boston, “traffic calming” advocates are reducing existing turn radii to force slower speed turns and making turns dangerous for trucks. Could you send them a memo, please? They want to minimize the distance a pedestrian has to cross an intersection at all costs despite no evidence it is any safer. The cost was a life last month because it was too tight for big trucks on the truck route.

  • markk02474

    The photos of the tractor trailer are instructive. Instead of crossing over the bike lane, the driver crossed over the oncoming traffic lane of the street he was turning on to. Overly constricted turns like this increase danger from truck traffic. Such is how a cyclist died last month in Cambridge Massachusetts on a dark, rainy night. Cambridge had constricted the intersection of two designated trucking routes with 12′ of cub extensions so trailer drivers are always forced to cross over other lanes. This time a cyclist was waiting in the left turn lane at a red light and the driver didn’t see him due to conditions and overly bright kiosk signage (approved by the city) above the cyclist from the driver’s sight line. I wish idiot “traffic calming” designers could be charged with manslaughter for the death.

  • http://www.theurbancountry.com/ James Schwartz

    …and that is exactly why the yellow line should be moved over… Feel free to inform yourself here: http://www.theurbancountry.com/2011/12/torontos-urban-repair-squad-strikes.html

  • markk02474

    Thanks for pointing out the other post, I’d not seen it. Yes, moving over the yellow line is necessary. Trucks will make use of needed larger radius while smaller vehicles don’t need it. Around Boston, “traffic calming” advocates are reducing existing turn radii to force slower speed turns and making turns dangerous for trucks. Could you send them a memo, please? They want to minimize the distance a pedestrian has to cross an intersection at all costs despite no evidence it is any safer. The cost was a life last month because it was too tight for big trucks on the truck route.

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  • Eric Weinstein

    Well stated. When the Dutch Cycling Embassy came to Los Angeles we learned that their general preference for right turns is to move the bake lane to the Left side of turning traffic. As usual, the example above might to apply. But as a guiding principle getting cycling traffic on the non-turning side of a large truck in a good idea. For you next experiment try out moving the bike lane to the left side. Or in this intersection you could make a bike box, which is a whole different solution.

    As a observant and experienced vehicular cyclist three techniques will help be in this intersection:

    1) leave extra space for large truck and buses – like 5 feet instead of two. Don’t let them crowd you, by taking your safety zone. Move over if they come up on you and take that safety space.

    2) I’ve seen a big bus take a turn (and we have giant buses here) the center of the vehicle pretty much has to move all the way to the curb in a sharp right turn. Do not be in that space. Move back from anything that big if it has it’s turn signal on, it there any sign it might turn. I’ve had to step back from a curb as a pedestrian. All part of living in a big city…

    #) Never hesitate to take the lane: be in the appropriate part of the lane at the stop line – or even a little bit in front of it. Make sure yo can be seen.

    Eric W

  • Eric Weinstein

    Well stated. When the Dutch Cycling Embassy came to Los Angeles we learned that their general preference for right turns is to move the bake lane to the Left side of turning traffic. As usual, the example above might to apply. But as a guiding principle getting cycling traffic on the non-turning side of a large truck in a good idea. For you next experiment try out moving the bike lane to the left side. Or in this intersection you could make a bike box, which is a whole different solution.

    As a observant and experienced vehicular cyclist three techniques will help be in this intersection:

    1) leave extra space for large truck and buses – like 5 feet instead of two. Don’t let them crowd you, by taking your safety zone. Move over if they come up on you and take that safety space.

    2) I’ve seen a big bus take a turn (and we have giant buses here) the center of the vehicle pretty much has to move all the way to the curb in a sharp right turn. Do not be in that space. Move back from anything that big if it has it’s turn signal on, it there any sign it might turn. I’ve had to step back from a curb as a pedestrian. All part of living in a big city…

    #) Never hesitate to take the lane: be in the appropriate part of the lane at the stop line – or even a little bit in front of it. Make sure yo can be seen.

    Eric W

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