Bicycle Lane Obstacle Course #1

I’m starting a new theme here on NWimby, this will be the first edition of a (hopefully) very short series. It occurred to me a few days ago, for obvious reasons, during a ride to work.

I ride my bike to work occasionally-to-regularly, depending on various weather and life-management issues. This has me crossing half of New Westminster and half of Richmond. As far as bike facilities, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I have a 21km ride each way where about 5km are on completely separated bike lanes, about 7km are on traffic-calmed Greenway with sharrows and very little traffic, about 8km are on busier roads with well-marked bike lanes, and pretty much all of the connections and traffic lights have some cycling infrastructure, or though of bicycle infrastructure. My work has a secure bike locker system, showers, most of what I need. Kudos to New West and Richmond for this.

I can ride this trip door-to-door faster than Transit can do the same job, so I am withholding any TransLink Kudos.

However, the bicycle commute is not without challenges, as I have written ranted about before. But something I have noticed with the increase in bikes lanes in our everyday lives: how well used they are by people not on bikes, and how little design or maintenance issues often turn a great investment in cycling infrastructure into an unacknowledged hazard for cyclists, often in a way no driver of a car would tolerate in a “real” road lane.

So this is my little reaction to that. I will be posting regular photos of things I see on my bike commutes, loosely collected under the title: Bike Lane Obstacle Course.

BLOC #1. I present for your consideration:

4 comments on “Bicycle Lane Obstacle Course #1

  1. Um exactly. I don’t understand why trucks think it’s ok to move over and block the bike lane. If they really need to stop, why don’t they just stay in the rightmost car lane, and see how well that goes over? I have to deal with stuff like this all the time on my ride to work and it drives me nuts!

  2. With all due respect, roads can be an obstacle course regardless of what vehicle you’re in/on. It’s not an issue that cyclists alone have to deal with.

    People frequently park in lanes with no stopping signs, road-work causes unexpected and time-consuming detours, pedestrians cross without right-of-way, amongst many, many other things. These things happen. They don’t upset me as a motorist because I know that everyone has to share the road. Sometimes it’s inconvenient, but that’s life in the big city.

    Commercial vehicles in particular, such as the photograph you’ve used as an example, should be given a bit of a break. These people have a job to do and they’re just trying to do it. If it means having to slow down and perhaps dismout for the 10 or so seconds it would take you to walk around the truck before continuing on your merry way, so be it.

  3. Being the fearless male between the age of 20 and 45 that I am, I would merge into the car lane disregarding the queue of cars that forms because they would naturally blame the lorry.

    However, I do understand that not everyone accepts the small but significant risk of being being squished by a row of cars. A successful bike friendly city needs infrastructure that caters to the masses- and that means that grandma carrying two bags of groceries should feel safe biking.

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