Cycle facilities – some inexpensive fixes.


I have been critical of the City regarding a number of their policies and facilities. In my opinion, until we get some of the top bureaucrats and politicians commuting by bike, things will not change. Although building new facilities can be expensive, there is a lot that can be done to improve our existing routes without spending huge amounts of money. Here are a few inexpensive ideas to make it easier for people to use bikes in our city.

I won’t go into detail about new routes such as Glenmore to Lake Country and better access to UBCO – they have been covered in other posts. What I will cover is relatively cheap improvements that can be done quickly if the desire is there. Often it is a matter of moving a few vehicle parking spots or putting up signs.

1) An audit should be done of all bike lanes and bike routes. This should be done by cyclists, the purpose being to examine the routes for safety problems, missing pieces and the like.

2) Missing Pieces – in a lot of areas bike lanes are cut off well before intersections or the bike lanes disappear for several blocks (Rutland Rd at Hwy 33). At the south end of Enterprise the south bound bike lane ends a long block before Spall with no indication of where to go. This will likely be fixed as there have to be changes in this area due to the Rails With Trails. However it should never have been left this way. These areas need to be identified and other routes found or signs posted telling cyclists to use sidewalks.

3) Signs – there are few signs for cyclists. Unless a cyclist knows the area, he/she won’t have any idea where the cycle lanes or routes are. Not every cyclist has the Kelowna cycle map and certainly not those new to town. Most of the shared use cycle/pedestrian lanes have no signs indicating that bikes are allowed.

4) Snow and debris clearing – for three to four months this winter the lanes on our roads remained covered in snow and ice and sand. There were no attempts to clear them. There needs to be a concerted effort to keep them clear so that people can cycle through the winter. Most cyclists do not wish to take a lane and share it with high speed big vehicles, particularly in slippery conditions. The City cannot make legitimate claims about being cycle friendly when for 1/4 to 1/3 of the year the majority of the bike routes are covered in snow and debris.

4) Traffic signals for bikes – we have none. All intersections in town are a guessing game as to how to activate the lights. Some only respond to a walk button, some respond only to a heavy, big vehicle in the vehicle lane and many will not activate for a cyclist in the cycle lane or vehicle lane – leaving the cyclist to wait for two light changes to make a simple left turn. This needs improvement even if it is just to post a sign telling cyclists how to activate lights.

5) The City should consult cyclists when building new facilities. Quite a few of their new roads are not at all cycle friendly. At many intersections (Mountain and High is a new one) the curbs are designed such that a cyclist must travel into the intersection and then make a hard right to access the pedestrian signal buttons. The situations are not a concern for an accomplished cyclist but certainly aren’t the best for novices. Simply extending the incline from the curb to the signal button back a few more feet would make these much safer. (expecting cyclists to dismount is not realistic).

The KACC and it’s members have indicated a willingness to assist the City in auditing it’s cycle facilities and routes. However I would recommend that before any work is done the KACC request the City to make a serious commitment to follow up in a reasonable period of time and put together a budget for this purpose. If they are unwilling to make a firm commitment in this regard there is no point in the KACC or anyone else doing this work.



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