The Inside Scoop on Bike-related Politics in BC
By Sarah Ripplinger
Spring proved to be particularly ground-breaking in the realm of cycle policy across our province. The first major change came in the shape of the one-lane, one-sidewalk Burrard Street Bridge bike lane trial. While some may be disappointed that the full two-lane trial was rejected, there is still a light at the end of the ‘bridge’ that indicates a full two-lane trial could be passed sometime in the future.
Beyond bridges, TransLink is in the midst of re-evaluating Metro Vancouver’s policies surrounding traffic safety and bike theft. Stakeholders from the bike community, the BC Ministry of Transportation, ICBC, the City of Vancouver, and others gathered to discuss strategies to encourage commuter cycling in the region at a workshop in May. The main thrust of the meeting was that some individuals may be deterred from biking because of unsafe roads, the absence of certain traffic laws, or a lack of secure bike parking. Delegates called for a political champion to spearhead important changes to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) and begin a public education and outreach campaign designed to make streets safer for cyclists and motorists.
Another option would be to reduce the speed on city side roads to 40 km/h. Reducing the 50 km/h speed limit on side streets is something the City of Vancouver is considering right now. Lowering the speed limit would increase the ability of motorists to see bikers and would also improve their stopping time and ability to manoeuvre. To submit your comments about the proposed reductions, contact (tel) 604-873-7526 or (email) email@example.com.
Vancouver City Council approved a motion in June to double spending on cycling infrastructure to $3.4-million. The funds will be used to fix Vancouver’s bike routes and make them safer for cyclists, including lowering the speed limit on bikeways to 30 km/h. Car-free trials in the Collingwood, Gastown, Mount Pleasant, and Commercial Drive neighbourhoods were also approved by council at the start of June. If only bike months of the future could be so eventful!
Planning Big in Oak Bay
In Oak Bay, Vancouver Island, a grassroots campaign is underway to improve bike lane infrastructure in their neck of the woods. A group of cyclists and their supporters are putting together a bicycle master plan (BMP) to present before the Oak Bay municipal council. The plan will include suggestions about how the municipality can increase the connectivity of the bike lane system in Oak Bay to surrounding municipalities. Corey Burger, who is part of the BMP planning team, said they are still looking for volunteers from Oak Bay and surrounding communities to “help complete surveys of cyclists, identify sites for infrastructure improvement, and collect other information that might impress upon local politicians the importance of promoting cycling within the municipality.” For more information, visit Safer Cycling Oak Bay’s website: www.scob.ca.
Do you have a tip about bike politics in your community? Send an email to Sarah, BC Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in the July/ August issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.