Dunsmuir Bike Lane now open

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The two-way protected bike lane on the Dunsmuir viaduct is now open. It's a great way to get downtown from the Adanac bike route, or to reach Andy Livingstone Park from downtown. As noted, the lane is a two-way facility and is located on the north side of the viaduct. Access westbound at Main and Union, eastbound at Beatty and Dunsmuir.

Awesome!

I just got my 2nd bike, 14 years after I bought my first ride. Question for you, is it faster to get
to AL by going over the viaduct from downtown, than it is to take Pender St or Pacific?

The sun's shining, maybe I'll go explore for myself.

Eastbound Pender (bike lane) to southbound Carrall St (greenway) is probably the fastest route from the northwest corner of the downtown core (to Andy Livingstone). Pacific or the Seawall to northbound on Carrall from the south side of False Creek, and probably Dunsmuir lane for anybody right in the heart of downtown... eastbound via Cambie or Beatty to Stadium Skytrain station where you can get into the protected lane. Heading east one needs to double back (west) one block to get from the exit of the bike lane to AL park.

many cheers to the new bike lanes and routes. I am happy to run them over. "get on your bikes and ride!" - Freddy Mercury

thought you would all get a kick out of this...'Mayor Robertson cycles into trouble...'

It's people who bike like Robertson, that give the bikers who stop at red lights, hand signal and wait until the light turns green before going a bad name. That is inexcusible and he couldn't even admit he was wrong. If a car did what he did, he'd probably complain about safety. When he does it, there is an excuse. Just admit you were wrong instead of inquiring into the safety of the intersection. I bike through it twice a day, and there is no safety issue if you adhere to the traffic signals. If you stop at a red light, the bus going in front of you won't hit you.

I love the bike lanes, and feel much safer biking to and from work. I dislike people taking a foot everytime they receive an inch.

Squiggsy: "It's hypocritical double-standards by those with irrational prejudices, that give the
bikers who stop at red lights, hand signal and wait until the light turns green before going a bad
name."

^ Fixed it for you.

Jon By Jon

It sounds to me like the writer of that piece is just trying to stir up trouble. Doesn't sound
like stopping at the red light would have made any difference. The near miss happened
when the mayor was changing lanes. Nothing to do with a separate bike lane or a red
light.

But they did a scientific poll with an outstanding sample size of two. I'm convinced.

Jon "Doesn't sound like stopping at the red light would have made any difference"

I'm going to use that if I ever get a Red Light Photo ticket, assuming I didn't cause a crash that is...

Look, I'm a non-biker who is pro-bike lanes, routes and all for alternative transportation methods. But we can't blame the writer for "stirring up trouble". That is like is like blaming your barista for stirring up your latte (or whatever the hell it is they are paid to do).

This is a matter of perception and politics, and if the Mayor wants to keep pushing his pro-bike agenda then he should probably avoid similar situations. We can all argue about this until we are blue in the fingers, but the fact is that he did something that could, and has, been used against him. Bad move.

The Mayor, and other high profile people like Stumpy, need to do it better than everyone else. "That's not fair" you say? "Life ain't fair" responds your Mother.

m2c

Jon By Jon

But the red light had nothing to do with the near miss. Why even put it in the story? He
turned right, changed lanes, and almost got taken out by a bus who was also changing
lanes. The story focussing on the red light makes the reader think that he was crossing a
street against the red.

Jon: "But the red light had nothing to do with the near miss."

Let's assume this is true.

Jon: "Why even put it in the story?"

When a pro-cycling mayor violates a cycling law, that's as relevant as any 'news' item on a
politician these days. One could effectively argue that the near miss is less relevant.

""That's not fair" you say? "Life ain't fair" responds your Mother."

I'm being misquoted :)

What I really said was: “Life ain’t fair... but it isn’t fair with everyone ... that makes life fair ...”

M

emd By emd

Perhaps we should paint this in the bike lane?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carltonreid/4646637491/

I'm Board

1. Any comments on the idea that removing manditory helmet laws increases the number of people on bikes, reduces the number of car drivers and in the end does not impact the total number of injuries? Actually reduces the number on a per kM travelled basis.

2. Bike helmets don't actually help in a vast majority of bike accidents.

3. Hands free laws are pointless because crashes caused by people in cars on the phone has nothing to do with where their hands are.

m2c

I think the bike helmet law should be kept, in a bassackwards way, to protect drivers.

1. Ignoring the cyclist being an idiot and hurting themselves, which happens, and their choice not to wear a helmet is only doing themselves a disservice, should a cyclist die in an MVA, the motorist could face manslaughter charges. If a helmet can prevent the death of the cyclist (a good thing!), then potential criminal charges would be less severe, and the cyclist would still be alive (bonus!). Yes, you could slippery-slope that one all the way into cyclists riding in a protective bubble, but the seat belt law is an analogous law we could point to that people don't get as uppity about.

2. Don't care. Still wearing the damn thing. I don't give a damn what my hair looks like when I get to work, it's going to be sweaty anyway. Hell, not having it blown all over hell's half acre because it's getting held down in a lid is probably a good thing.

3. Abso-wait for it-lutely. Sure, you've got another hand on the wheel (maybe), but it's the distraction that is the biggest problem.

If removing helmet laws made drivers more cautious then that would be a good thing. If you accidentally killed someone with any other device, charges would be considered, no reason why drivers should get a pass on this (as so often it appears to be the case).

Helmet laws are no doubt well-intentioned, but they do little to encourage compliance, and even less in terms of road safety. Sure, I wear one. I'd encourage others to do the same. But the reality appears to be drivers are more cautious around cyclists without helmets. Another reality is that places without helmet laws (most of the rest of the world) don't appear to have significantly higher death rates AFAIK for cyclists.

Of course, many people will point to seat belt laws as an example of universality in applying laws, but in fact, this is not the case. Buses and trains don't have seat belts. Child car seat laws don't apply to taxis. We regularly allow people to stand on transit vehicles, despite the obvious dangers in the event of an accident.

The real knock against helmet laws however is the fact that they actually discourage cycling, which any sensible jurisdiction recognizes as an essential component of the urban transportation network.

If we looked at this issue dispassionately there would be a requirement to wear a helmet for almost any activity. Skiers would be required to wear them. So would participants in most field sports such as Ultimate.

The real problem on our roads is both the allocation of space to an inefficient means of travel (single occupant vehicles) and a training system for drivers that requires little more than the ability to stay on one side of the road, signal turns, and parallel park.

Road safety is entirely a function of driver training. There's a reason professional drivers are safer than the average commuter. They get more time to practice and are subject to more training.

It's fascinating to see how easily the average North American swallows the propaganda surrounding automobiles. It's depressing to realize how comfortable we've become with off-loading the real costs of cheap travel onto our children and resource-rich developing nations. It's embarrassing to consider how the people born in the twentieth century will be seen in a historical context. Our collective actions, and inaction, will be viewed with revulsion and disgust.

Keam: "But the reality appears to be drivers are more cautious around cyclists without helmets."

Citation needed.

Keam: "Buses and trains don't have seat belts. Child car seat laws don't apply to taxis. We
regularly allow people to stand on transit vehicles, despite the obvious dangers in the event of
an accident."

Physics my friend. For the most part, what matters in a collision is how fast you hit the hard
parts of the vehicle you're traveling in. What affects that is how fast your vehicle
accelerates/decelerates during a collision.** A bus or a train is not going to experience
anywhere near the Gs that even a gigantic SUV experiences. The impact of a collision for a
rider of a bus or train is going to be far, far less significant than the same impact in an
automobile. Certainly seat belts would help reduce injuries in a wide variety of collisions, but
we *are* talking about very significant differences in the risks at play.

** The weight of your vehicle will greatly affect the acceleration rate of the vehicle cabin (so
too do crumple zones), and thus the severity of injury to the riders. An Escalade and a SMART
car colliding will be the worst for the SMART car driver because his vehicle will face the most
acceleration forces. It's doubly bad for the SMART car driver, because his vehicle has no
crumple zones, and while they advertise that they are 'built like tanks', that's of little comfort
when all that means is that all the external forces are transferred directly to the rider.

PS: A helpful tip a forensic engineer who specializes in vehicle accident investigation told me:
In a rear-end situation, if you jam your brakes, you increase the 'effective weight' of your
vehicle. Essentially, you're greatly reducing the amount that your car will accelerate, and thus
greatly reducing the force with which your car will hit you from behind. This in turn will result
in far less serious potential injury than if you were to no hit your breaks.

citation provided. BBC article linked below

Temple:

Highway coaches and high-speed trains don't have seatbelts either.

I have ridden inter-city buses that had passengers standing in the aisles (Squamish to Vancouver). Seatbelts not only protect those belted, but they also prevent bodies flying around the passenger compartment.

Nonetheless, the point of my post is not to argue the relative merits of seatbelts. It's to point out that the so-called universality of laws concerning motorized vehicles and safety simply doesn't exist.

Keam: "citation provided. BBC article linked below"

His 'experiment' was with one individual cyclist (himself). That is hardly a double-blind
study.

Also, with a sample size of only 2,500 passing cars for *all three variants* (with helmet,
without helmet, without helmet and with wig), he didn't spend all that many hours in the
saddle for each test. He therefore couldn't have done it on a wide variety of routes, or
geographic locales, or different weather/lighting conditions, or tested different bikes, or tested
different clothing, etc. I wonder if, but suspect that he didn't, run similar routes, time of day,
etc for each of the trial scenarios. Note too that there is no mention of the statistical margin of
error.

In short, this was not science, this was not a study. This was not an experiment which showed
anything from which confident conclusions can be drawn.

You can't draw your conclusion on "reality" from this 'experiment'. Before you rebut,
remember that he didn't confirm your assertion, he said "this study *suggests* wearing a
helmet might make a collision more likely".

Now a study 'suggesting' something is equivalent to saying: "there appears to be correlation,
but there's no significant evidence of any causation".

Without knowing a lot more detail about the study, I'd be inclined to believe that what he
really should have said was "From my anecdotal experiences, when I go riding on my bike on
routes near me, over the course of a few dozen hours, a small random sample of drivers in
these areas passed an average of 3" closer to me when I had my helmet on".

That's a far, far cry from saying "drivers [worldwide] are more cautious around cyclists without
helmets."

Keam: "Highway coaches and high-speed trains don't have seatbelts either."

I think you misunderstand.

It's not really the speed you are traveling, it's the rate at which you accelerate. When a bus
hits another vehicle it accelerates far far less than when a car hits that same vehicle. Over
the gamut of potential collision scenarios, you face less serious injuries in a bus while
unbelted than you would in an automobile while unbelted.

As I mentioned, that's not to say that safety wouldn't be increased by having passengers in
busses seated and belted, but the amount by which safety would increase is far less than in
an automobile. Therefore there is a very practical difference in the scenarios. As far as
seatbelts are concerned, passengers in busses and trains are similar to passengers in
automobiles, but it is not the same thing.

I don't misunderstand, I simply realize there are a whole lot of traffic crashes that involve vehicles running into immovable objects, flipping over, etc. Trains, meanwhile, mostly run into other trains, so the deceleration speed is significant there as well.

In fact, I question the advice that standing on your brakes if you are about to be rear-ended in a car is good advice too. If dissipating the energy of the collision is the preferred outcome (per the rationale behind crumple zones), then barring the dangers of being pushed into moving traffic or similar, it seems to me your body would absorb less force by allowing the vehicle to roll forward with the impact, and certainly bracing your body between a brake pedal and seat sounds like the perfect recipe for a shattered leg/pelvis

"That's a far, far cry from saying "drivers [worldwide] are more cautious around cyclists without helmets.""

Well then, you understand why I prefaced my comment with an 'appears'.

Fatality rates don't drop significantly with mandatory helmet laws. This is a pretty well-accepted fact in medical circles and a big reason why the debate is ongoing, unlike the general consensus that seat belts save lives.

Keam: "In fact, I question the advice that standing on your brakes if you are about to be rear-
ended in a car is good advice too. If dissipating the energy of the collision is the preferred
outcome (per the rationale behind crumple zones), then barring the dangers of being pushed into
moving traffic or similar, it seems to me your body would absorb less force by allowing the
vehicle to roll forward with the impact, and certainly bracing your body between a brake pedal
and seat sounds like the perfect recipe for a shattered leg/pelvis"

Sigh. Your intuitive understanding of physics is poor. To speak to your concern, 'bracing your
body between the brake pedal and seat', all the force from a rear-end collision comes from
behind. I'm guessing you think somehow you could be crushed between the seat and pedal? No,
the brake pedal moves away from you at the same rate as the seat comes toward you, there is
no added force coming towards you from the pedal. During the collision you are effectively flung
backwards towards the rear of the vehicle, away from the steering wheel, pedals, etc.

Why do I bother? You also once suggested it's safer to be hit by a car in a recumbent bicycle
than in a regular bike. Physics is not your forte, but arguing is.

Weak. Stick to the topic at hand. I can see how an immovable car might reduce whiplash injuries with high speed collisions, but not sure it's a good piece of advice in all instances.

I'll just assume that since you went straight to the history books instead of the laws of physics that there's some validity to my skepticism.

Well, as usual Temple and CK are debating the finest points of a tangent, and while I could add some light to that conversation, I'm going to stick to M2C's questions.

Considering the number of helmet-less riders I see, I don't think the law is having a big impact. I think that most people who would let a laxly implemented law stop them would likely insist on wearing (them or their kids) a helmet anyways. Removing the law from the books thus would have little effect on anything.

This is also in part because, as you pointed out, helmets help only in a small portion of collisions, even if correctly selected and worn (which many aren't). Specifically, they don't do a thing for anything below your ears (while a collision certainly can), and even some head collisions are unaffected by them, such as if your head somehow lands on a protruding object, or an edge of something hits below the helmet. Having said that, I'll still wear mine just in case it comes into play.

All of those who think that they're safe when they're driving and talking on their bluetooth headsets are delusional. While using a hand to hold or dial a phone is bad, it's true that the bigger danger is the distraction. I accept that this is a sample size of one, but I know that when I talk on the phone as a passenger, I hang up and realize that I've been oblivious to the cars movements during the call. Also, all of the people I've seen cruise through stop signs, drift into the other lane and cut me off while talking on the phone didn't do so because they didn't have two hands on the wheel.

Did anyone hear about a biker getting shot this morning? I've scoured the local
news sites but couldn't find any reference, maybe I imagined the story on the
radio.

Story at the link. The victim was known to police.

Thanks! Not 'bike' related, sorry for the misspost (I had only caught that a biker
had been shot on the radio)

Was he wearing a helmet?

m2c

Probably not wearing a helmet, cyclists like to feel safe and protected but are deterred from cycling because of the helmet law.

/endparadox

"... riding his bike at the time...".

Bike as in bicycle, or bike as in motorcycle?

... but then why would this story be any different with the press attempting to be specific or accurate ...

Motorists like to feel safe and protected but consistently choose the deadliest form of transportation on the planet.

/endparadox

What, no argument over the gun registry vote? 153 to 151 doesn't get any closer.

I plan on paraphrasing Stephen Harper every time the issue of bike registration comes up.

“The people of the regions of this country are never going to accept being treated like criminals and we will continue our efforts until this registry is finally abolished.”

Why is that in a bike thread?

And gun registry doesn't even make my top 20 of issues that are important, it's
kind of sad that people can blow things so far out of proportion.

152 to 151 would have been closer

I don't think Motorists are looking to be safe, they don't want to stop using cell phones in the car, many still don't like the idea of seatbelts! The point that was made about cyclists was a reference to the call for separated bike lanes and such. It was a funny, witty comment. I'm a supporter of the current cyclists agenda, bike lanes and the such, but CK, sometimes you need to tip your hat to another point of view, or even a good natured slag. Your snide, unoriginal and frankly weak response loses you a few points.

Listened to Jack Layton for 5 min today on CKNW defending the Long Gun Registry, changed my mind on the issue. He made some good points, the best of which was that while the scare mongers will say that it costs $100M/year to run, a more accurate picture is that the registry costs $2-4M/year to run and there is another $100M in licensing and education that is spent on gun safety. Nobody is pushing to cut that program.

NDP wants to fix some of the problems and move on. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

m2c

My response was to Tubster. Are you posting under more than one alias M2C?

"It was a funny, witty comment."

No, it was an uninformed, pointless comment. Not being run over by an inattentive motorist and protecting your head in the event of a fall are two very different safety issues. As we saw earlier this year in Quebec, a helmet is not much protection when you are mowed down from behind by a car drifting toward the shoulder and hitting you at 80 kmh or faster.

The motoring equivalent would be to say that it's a paradox for motorists to support safety improvements on the Sea to Sky, but still drive a car without airbags.

Prickly about not being killed on my bike or people making ignorant comments because they don't know what they are talking about? Hell, yeah. To quote Steve Martin... "Well, excuuuuse me!"

Also, since every MP voted on the issue, 153-151 is the closest result. If one MP had changed their vote it would have been a tie.

"As we saw earlier this year in Quebec, a helmet is not much protection when you are mowed down from behind by a car drifting toward the shoulder and hitting you at 80 kmh or faster."

No, but a helmet works wonders when an inattentive cyclist runs into a stationary car and topples over. Or loses control for any other reason and bangs their head. Although I'm led to believe from your posts that no cyclist is ever involved in any sort of collision/accident that isn't their fault.

You said cyclists want to be safe and protected. You said the helmet law is discouraging people from cycling. I fail to see the logic. I know exactly what I'm talking about, I've seen more than enough people rushed into emerg where a helmet would have made a world of difference, or conversely where the helmet saved their life.

"No, but a helmet works wonders when an inattentive cyclist runs into a stationary car and topples over."

Another argument in favour of separated lanes.

"Although I'm led to believe from your posts that no cyclist is ever involved in any sort of collision/accident that isn't their fault."

I haven't even come close to suggesting anything of the sort.

"You said cyclists want to be safe and protected. You said the helmet law is discouraging people from cycling. I fail to see the logic."

Yes, I can see that. Google some research on helmet safety. There is plenty of debate over the merits of helmets, esp. in the medical community. The most recent research is theorizing that helmets may prevent you from getting a contusion, but exacerbate the damage done inside your skull. But, if you feel strongly about preventing head injuries, then we both know where you can do the most good. Tell the motorists you know to wear a helmet. That's where the most head injuries occur.

Jon By Jon

Article in the Vancouver Sun this morning.

Subheadline "City has a free riders problem, but it's not who you think".

Funny, that's exactly who I would have thought.

I, myself, would never ride without a helmet. But damn if I'm going to argue with those crazy Dutch.

"Like a scene from a Dr Seuss book, odd two-wheeled contraptions whizz by, laden with children and shopping. Old people as well as small children cycle and it is not uncommon to see Amsterdammers riding one-handed as they talk on mobile phones or hold an umbrella in pouring rain.

And yet not one of them wears a helmet.

Unlike Sydney, where debate over the efficacy of helmets rages, Dutch authorities believe the best way to encourage safety is to invest in bike-friendly infrastructure and to discourage cars. Pedestrians, bikes and cars are separated, speeds are low and safety is examined at school.

But despite the high ratio of bike use, the country has the lowest accident rate in Europe for cyclists. Seven riders die annually and about 100 are seriously injured."

"The city is also physically perfect for bikes, with flat topography, relatively short distances and streets very narrow for cars."

I loved Amsterdam. The wife and I rode bikes all over it and the countryside. They ride to work without the hand-wringing over being sweaty and having shower facilities at the workplace.

Everyone has 3-speed bikes and don't have the North American obsession about bike shorts and getting there as fast and as sweaty as possible. It's a mode of transport to them, not of fitness.

Other differences: cargo bikes. Quite common. Here, only parents haul kids in cargo bikes or trailers. There, they haul literally everything. Same in Asia.

Tubby, are you implying Vancouver couldn't achieve 57% due to our topography? Puuhlease.

Nothing to do with topography, everything to do with "relatively short distance". I know I can only speak for myself and those I know, but in this city, with the cost of real estate coupled with where people work, cycling isn't an option. Hell, transit isn't barely an option depending on where and more importantly when you work.

I'm not about to start commuting 75 km (round trip) every night by bicycle. I'm sure it would do my roommate some good to bike 50 km round trip to his job, but still doesn't seem "relatively short" to me. My girlfriend is lucky to only live 15 km from her place of employment, and has been frantically looking for a job closer to home, but the prospect for jobs in her field isn't very promising. I would say 15 km is close enough to cycle, but would others agree? How about in the rain?
Trust me, I'd love to live within a "relatively short distance" to where I work and be able to cycle, or even better just walk there. Not possible unless I'm willing to dig myself into a pit of debt so deep I'll never climb out. Totally worth ditching my car and buying a bike.

Hey, if there was a plan to set everyone up in a home close to where they work so we could all cycle everywhere and get cars off the road, sign me up. But it's not, definitely not in this city. Even the suburbs are becoming unaffordable. That's my biggest gripe by far about this whole bicycle vs. car debate. It's simply not an option for a LOT of people. That's the nature of this city. Is it right? I don't think so, but until things change in a big way, people will continue to drive out of necessity. It has nothing to do with me not wanting to wear a helmet, or not having enough protected lanes. You find a way for me to afford a similar apartment in which I currently live on the North Shore and I will gladly never drive again in favour of the bicycle. Like I said, I can only speak for myself, but almost everyone I know is in a very similar situation.

And I would be very much in favour of some sort of law that prohibited people who live X km away from their place of employment (X = relatively short distance) from driving to work. You'd have to be a special kind of lazy to think it's worth the hassle to drive 5-10 minutes to work. I'd love to have that luxury.

Ok, fine. But let's compare apples to apples. In Amsterdam, 57 percent of journeys *to jobs that are less than 7.5 km (4.7 miles) from home* are done on bike. Sorry, that may not have been clear from the original article.

Vancouver can absolutely achieve that same stat.

"Hey, if there was a plan to set everyone up in a home close to where they work so we could all cycle everywhere and get cars off the road, sign me up."

Less cars, less roads, more land for housing. Cost of housing decreases. The plan is here. You're fighting it.

I ride 15 km. Doable, but I'm willing to work up a sweat getting there, which a lot of people aren't willing to do.

As for CK's comment about less cars = less roads. Unlikely. I'm sure you could compare increase in the number of cars on the roads to the increase in roads and find that the former is far outpacing the latter. Decreasing the number of cars on the roads isn't going to convince the city to hack the roads out and put housing in, it's just going to make the people who still drive a bit happier.

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