Nothing to report from bike trial this morning


Looks like the official launch of the Burrard Street Bridge bike trial went off without a hitch this morning. According to still captured rushour images from the KatKam overlooking the bridge, traffic was light and road rage was no where to be seen. Of course the real crunch should be this afternoon when up to 35,000 vehicles try to squeeze home in two lanes instead of three.


Mayor Gregor Robertson tested the bike lane out yesterday and had this to say about the coming week – “There’s always some congestion coming out of downtown in the afternoons, but it’s spread over more hours than the morning commute,” Robertson said, “Hopefully we have an adjustment over the next couple of days and people get used to the new way.”

The city estimates that 8,000- 9,000 people cross the Burrard bridge every hour and half of those are people driving alone in cars. Speaking of which, the Vancouver Sun’s Pete McMartin piece in Saturday’s paper offers another perspective that is worth a read:

At the crest of the Burrard Bridge’s sidewalk, where I stand, the cars roar by, each and every one of them going over the speed limit. To view them from the perspective of a pedestrian is to be struck by a couple of things. One is the sense of a car’s mass, which is frightening; the other is the sense of one’s own vulnerability in relation to it, which is even more frightening. The cars hurtle.

This, too: Almost every car contains only a driver. Car commuters (of which I am often one) may prefer not to see it in such terms, but the power and sense of entitlement a car confers is a political act, especially in an age of global warming, where every car trip is an incremental crime against nature.

This is the commuter’s secret thrill — the speed and ease and selfishness of a car — because necessity very often has little to do with it.

Last modified: July 13, 2009

32 Responses to " Nothing to report from bike trial this morning "

  1. David Hayes says:

    Seemed fine to me, I noticed more cyclists/pedestrains (mainly joggers) on the bridge than normal this morning

  2. MT says:

    i also noticed more bikers… good times.

  3. vancityguy says:

    Safety is an issue when crossing/riding the bridge, there’s little question in that respect, but this ‘solution’ is anything but. It will result in

    1-more congestion

    2-increased acrimony between drivers and cyclists

    3-a PR nightmare for Robertson & Co.

    So my question is this – who actually benefits from any of this?

    And before the environmental issue is regurgitated again, to call ‘every car trip an incremental crime against nature’ [not this writer, but from the VanSun] is ridiculous.

    Why stop there? The last time I checked bikes are made from steel, rubber, plastic (all produced, transported, and marketed thanks to coal and oil fired means). Not to mention coffee, sailboats, bus passes, newspapers, sandals, chewing gum, personal computers…I guess the only thing that doesn’t qualify as a ‘crime against nature’ is breathing.

    Sorry for the rant, but the all this ‘test’ accomplishes is producing a headache for everyone and achieving nothing.

  4. Mark A says:

    >So my question is this – who actually benefits from any of this?

    Ummm… cyclists and pedestrians, perhaps?

  5. vancityguy says:

    More commuter anger/frustration at any cyclist, regardless of age/opinion.

    If this bike lane gets the axe, which I think it will, and any other cycle-friendly initiative is going to get stonewalled for another 10 years.

    Benefit? Hardly.

  6. Mark A says:

    As a cyclist and pedestrian user of the bridge, I am sure you have my best interests at heart but if it’s all the same with you I think I’ll reserve the right to decide whether I am benefiting or not.



  7. Richard says:

    I just crossed the bridge. The northbound traffic where there is 3 lanes is backed up while southbound traffic with only 2 lanes is flowing smoothly.

  8. MT says:

    who’s getting angry? no one.

  9. Another Steve says:

    Only 89 days to go. I can’t wait. I can’t imagine them keeping this silly idea going through November when you’ll only see 10 bikes/hour vs. the thousands of cars in the same time frame. But who knows? This pinko council is woefully out of touch with reality and common sense.

  10. WyWyWa says:

    I drove across southbound yesterday at 5pm. There is a real danger for cars turning onto the bridge from eastbound Pacific. The bikes come whizzing down the hill and across the incoming car traffic. Without a stop light, some less than attentive driver will turn onto the bridge and kill a cyclist. They need to add a turning light or someone will get killed.

  11. Mark A says:

    “The bikes come whizzing down the hill and across the incoming car traffic”

    What I think you meant to say there is: “inattentive drivers pull out in front of incoming cycle traffic”. Agreed that something needs to be done at that corner, but I found it amusing that the way you phrase this subtly pins the blame on the cyclists.

  12. Jody says:

    As a neutral (pedestrian, never owned a car, don’t intend to buy one) I’m impressed by the anger toward cyclists here. Looks like ‘power and sense of entitlement’ all right.

  13. Bill Barilko says:

    I wonder how long it will be before cyclists like myself will have to start to pay at least part of the cost of all these ‘improvements’ to infrastructure?

    How much do you think a bike licence should be?



    Of course there’ll be a graduated system of fees with commuters paying more than children but since those kids get to use the cycle lanes too they should start to hustle some Lemonade or sell some old toys to pay their own way!

    There’s no Free Ride you know Folks!

    Cyclists have been ‘coasting’ for far too long it’s time to hire some more Enforcement Officers to have regular licence and safety checks!

    Maybe those few impecunious few who can’t afford the ‘Brave New Fees’ could be put to work shoveling gravel in city parks for new trails!

  14. Mark A says:

    Since these infrastructure improvements are paid for from property taxes, cyclists are already paying just like everyone else.

    The money you pay to ICBC is for insuring your vehicle and the things it might hit. So it only pays for infrastructure if you happen to crash into it.

    If we were to agree that there were safety reasons for licensing cyclists, it’s worth pointing out that a driving license in BC costs $75 for 5 years.

  15. vancityguy says:

    How many times does a cyclist halt for a stop sign, or even a stop light?

    How many times does a biker for a pedestrian to cross the street?

    How many time does does someone on a bike signal for changing lanes before zipping through?

    If cyclists want to share the road and be treated like a car, fine, how about obeying the rules of the road as well?

    And insurance isn’t only for infrastructure. How about when a cyclist strikes a pedestrian, or when a bicycler purposely kicks or hits another car (have seen it happen twice).

    When cyclists pay for licenses, have plates on their bikes, are insured against their actions and obey, are are culpable, to breaking the rules of the road, then maybe they should have equal share of the assfault.

  16. Mark A says:

    I think the law already requires drivers to share the road with cyclists, so you are hardly arguing from a strong position, however rational and well-thought out your proposal might seem.

  17. Richard says:

    Once you realize that the speed limit is a maximum and not a minimum and that even going 1 kph over the limit is breaking the law, you will realize that motorists break the law far more than cyclists ever will. Even worse, motorists breaking the law are a deadly threat to themselves and everyone else on or near a road, while cyclists are mainly a danger to themselves.

    Once we crackdown on dangerous driving and eliminate the killing of innocent people by drivers, then lets crackdown on cyclists. Until then, cracking down on cyclists is not the best use of limited police resources.

  18. Another Steve says:

    MARK A. If you re-read the comments you’re responding to more closely you might comment differently. He said “less than attentive driver will turn onto the bridge and kill a cyclist” How is his wording subtly pinning the blame on the cyclist?

    And yes, the law requires that drivers share the road with cyclists…but that’s not his point. He’s saying that cyclists aren’t licensed, insured, or plated and therefore shouldn’t get equal share of road.

    Argue against what he IS writing and not just what you imagine.

  19. Mark A says:

    I’ll argue however I like, thanks.

    VCG was arguing that cyclists should only be allowed their share of the road once they are licensed and insured. My point was that they are already allowed this share of the road and therefore what he is proposing is to do is deny cyclists their existing rights unless they accept licensing. He seems to believe he is in a position to demand this, and I don’t think he is.

  20. vancityguy says:

    Mar A

    Get over yourself. I don’t give a damn whether someone cycles or drives to work, the street belongs to everyone.

    To repeat, and simplify, what I’m saying, is that cyclists have to be willing to admit that once they are on the road with a bike, they cease to be pedestrians should be subject to the rules dictating any other vehicle on the road, ie, stop signs, stop lights, pedestrian crosswalks, changing lanes, insurance coverage and a license plate because, despite the head-up-a$$-utopian idea of the eco-friendly and responsible bike rider, a lot of them are jerks who lash out at cars and are themselves a hazard on the road.

    You can report a dangerous driver via license plate, why not the same for a reckless bike rider?

    Having a lane on a major road should come with the realities of being a vehicle on a major road.

    Simple enough for you?

  21. vancityguy says:

    Note, I don’t mean to say that cyclists are inherent jerks. They’re not, but maybe 10% of are, like drivers.

    But my point remains the same.

  22. Mark A says:

    I agree that cyclists should obey the rules of the road, the habits of some cyclists annoy me just as much as the habits of some drivers.

    However, what you are proposing in addition is that cyclists should be licensed and bikes should have plates. And if they don’t, they should not be allowed on the road. And forgive me if I am being dense, but I am also of the impression that you believe that unless cyclists are prepared to accept these terms, they should not get the share of the road that the law currently allows them. Please correct me if I am wrong here.

    I think the implication that you have dumbed down your argument so I can understand it is pretty hilarious, BTW – as if it could get any dumber.

  23. vancityguy says:

    Look, this is pointless. You’re either not willing to actually propose a solution, or you’re incapable of it, either way it’s a waste of time.

    When bikes start to confiscate roadway that has, for decades, been allocated exclusively to car traffic, then bike traffic should be held to the same standards as car traffic. Is that so utterly and impossibly difficult to understand?

    Perhaps it is, in which case, maybe it’s a good thing you’re not behind the wheel of an automobile in the first place.

    Have a nice ride home.

  24. Mark A says:

    I don’t believe there is any problem that exists that cannot be solved by enforcement of existing laws – so I see no reason to propose any solution over and above that.

  25. Mark A says:

    Exists with cycling in the City of Vancouver, I mean.

  26. Chris Keam says:

    “When bikes start to confiscate roadway that has, for decades, been allocated exclusively to car traffic, then bike traffic should be held to the same standards as car traffic.”

    Roads have always been for everyone (with the exception of controlled access freeways) and there has never been a time when roads were exclusively for cars. In fact, the move to pave roads was originally started by cycling organizations at about the same time as ‘safety’ bicycles began being used in large numbers. The situation remains the same today. A road can be used by anyone, be they riding a horse, a bike, or driving a car.

  27. Another Steve says:

    Actually Chris, as idyllic as your idea sounds, all roads cannot be used by anyone. We have highways in this province that you cannot drive scooters on because they’re not fast enough. And there isn’t a 4-lane road in the city where you wouldn’t be arrested for riding your horse on.


  28. Another Steve says:

    MarkA “I don\’t believe there is any problem that exists that cannot be solved by enforcement of existing laws…”

    Are you high or are the rest of us just not coming to the same brilliant realizations as you? So do you suggest we should just enforce the laws governing drugs, prostitution, theft, rape and murder? Then the problem will be solved? What kind of pinko commie crap is that?

  29. Mark A says:

    Well, you know, with laws, enforcing them is usually considered to be a start. Do you have any idea how silly your comment sounds?

    But I was responding to VCG’s goading to “propose a solution”. To put it In more explicit terms, what I was hoping to suggest is that licensing is being offered as a “solution” to a problem which in reality does not exist. I believe those advocating it have no real interest in improving the safety of cycling *or* driving and instead are doing it out of politically partisan self-interest. Vancityguy is fed up arguing with me because I am refusing to play the game he wants to play.

  30. vancityguy says:

    Actually no Mark A, I have an extremely high tolerance for opinionated banter, I do work in financial markets after all.

    I have less (a LOT less) tolerance for idiocy however, especially idiocy that hides behind generalizations.

    …peddle on brother…peddle on….

  31. Another Steve says:

    No Mark, silly is thinking that our laws are currently effective if only they were enforced. It’s as ridiculous as thinking that we should rehab all the criminals, that they’re really not bad people but just from bad homes.

    If it was as easy as you suggest “I don\’t believe there is any problem that exists that cannot be solved by enforcement of existing laws” then we should just crank up the enforcement and soon there will be no laws being broken and we’ll all be happy-happy in your utopian fantasyland. Hate to pop your bubble but the real world doesn’t work that way Mark.

  32. Made in Manhattan says:

    Having just returned from visiting Vancouver, I have to say that I’m not sure why there is such a big fuss. Your traffic isn’t that bad. Someone told me when I was there that it’s because there is no downtown freeway. But we get along in NYC without freeways in Manhattan. Licensing bikes would be a good thing for many reasons. Does anyone know if there is a plan to create a bike rental pool run by city hall? Montreal did it and they are covered in snow 7 months of the year. New York is looking into it and I think we’ll see it within 2 years. And where are the cool bike racks? I only saw them chained to parking meters. Cool bike racks could be like public art if the idea was in the right hands.

    BTW, I love your city even but would be better if I could buy beer in the grocery store.