Bike Friendly – what is it?

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Alan Durning has written an excellent article on bike friendly facilities. I will quote a paragraph from the article as I feel it is very well written and gives a succinct version of the type of infrastructure needed to encourage cycling.

” Bike friendly means a complete, continuous, interconnected network of named bicycle roads or “tracks,” each marked and lit, each governed by traffic signs and signals of its own. It means a parallel network interlaced with the other urban grids: the transit grid on road or rail; the street grid for cars, trucks, and taxis; and the sidewalk grid for pedestrians. It means separation from those grids: to be useful for everyone from eight year olds to eighty year olds, bikeways on large roads must be physically curbed, fenced, or graded away from both traffic and walkers. (On smaller, neighborhood streets, where bikes and cars do mingle, bike friendly means calming traffic with speed humps, circles, and curb bubbles.) ”

The rest of the article is well worth reading. You will find it here:

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/5/18/12579/3294

Alan’s article has a link to another article (same author) giving statistics on bike ownership and use, particularly in the pacific northwest, and some for Canada and Europe. Very good and worth looking at. It can be found here, in case you miss the link in the main article:

Bike stats

Notably, Durning mentions that bike trails should be separated from pedestrian “grids”. This may come up in Kelowna quite soon as the City has plans to put in a pedestrian/cycling lane along the west side of the Glenmore bypass (the north extension of Glenmore from just north of Kane Rd. (IGA area) to the landfill. I don’t have a lot of detail on this as it is still in the planning stage. I was told that the City has become aware that cyclists are asking for “off road” facilities and that this is the reasoning behind the separate non motor vehicle lane.

I am somewhat concerned about the separate lane, not because I don’t agree with them, but I have a feeling that it will be a “built in Kelowna” solution that will have to accommodate pedestrians, dog walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, electric wheel chairs and electric bikes. In other words the motor vehicles will have the fast, efficient route and cyclists will share a relatively narrow area with all of the other “non privileged” users. In this area there are a lot of dog walkers, many with the retractable lease systems. There are also quite a few pedestrians who, understandably, like to walk side by side. These are not always compatible with cyclists, particularly those who may wish to get from point A to point B in a reasonable length of time.

John.

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