Cycling in Cities – cyclists preferences

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I found an interesting article in Issue 30 of Momentum magazine regarding a recent study by UBC occupational health professor Dr. Kay Teschke.  You will find the article here:

http://www.momentumplanet.ca/features/cycling-cities

Dr. Teschke, noting that she was uncomfortable cycling in the city with her young daughter, decided to study the types of routes favoured by cyclists.  She found that all types of cyclists preferred to ride routes with little motor vehicle traffic.   The three routes at the top of the preference list were off street followed by a fourth – on street with a separating barrier.

For further information please read the article in Momentum.  Interestingly enough one of the top  factors linked to cycling was beautiful scenery.

I am not at all surprised at the above findings.  I am an experienced  cyclist and am not uncomfortable riding in traffic.  I do however notice that I am less interested in riding in bike lanes along the sides of very busy streets and roads.  Most cyclists I speak to feel the same way – many of them are experienced.

I find that inexperienced cyclists are very intimidated by heavy traffic beside them, even with a bike lane to ride.  Their perception of danger may be higher than the actual danger but it keeps them off their bikes.

The City of Kelowna makes a point of mentioning all of it’s on street bike lanes and how we are leaders in this regard.  I have some trouble with that due to the increasing traffic on most of these roads.  Glenmore road, as most of my acquaintances will note, is my pet peave in this regard.  It wasn’t that bad when the bike lanes were put in place a few years ago.  The traffic has increased enormously in the last few years due to landfill traffic, increased residential building to the north of us and a huge amount of construction in North Glenmore.  The area from High Rd. down to Hwy 97 (onto Spall) is getting dangerous.  I come very very close to being “right hooked” in that area twice now in about 2 months – once at the Bernard exit and once at the exit to the Central Okanagan Bypass.

In my opinion if lanes are placed on the sides of roads then an effort should be made to keep the posted speeds down and to keep the volume of traffic down on those streets.  If that can’t be done then other options should be provided.

On the good news front, I met Councillor Norm Letnick outside of City Hall about two weeks ago.  He had ridden his bike to “work” that morning and when he isn’t riding drives a Smart Car.

John.

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