Road Safety: Water St Sharrows

Artwork by Bikeyface, 

Still puzzled by the sharrows on Water Street in downtown Brockville?
The 200m short stretch between Home and Broad is narrow, signed at a max of 40 km/h, and part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail through town. The application of sharrows on the short stretch is a guide to those driving and cycling, about how to share the road safely and responsibly.

The illustration above, copyright and courtesy  of Bikeyface,  shows quite nicely what sharrows are all about. They are generally described in traffic manuals and consumer guides as a shared lane marking that:

  • Indicates that, as in the illustration above, the lane is too narrow to be shared side-by-side and single file is appropriate.
  • Reminds those driving that bicycles are vehicles on the road and entitled to use the whole lane when conditions warrant.
  • Reminds those cycling that on a narrow road, the safest position is to “take the lane”.

Those driving also need to keep in mind that when passing someone on a bike, a minimum of 1 m clearance is stipulated in the Highway Traffic Act. That means passing using the oncoming lane (when it’s clear of oncoming traffic, of course).

That very short stretch of Water Street has blind corners at Home, St. Andrew, Apple and Broad streets. Be a good neighbour, slow down and share the road responsibly.

Reference: MTO Drivers Handbook

Brockville Cycling Committee Reaffirms Design Principles

New bike lanes on King St W and Cty Rd 2 in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016, photo: A Medcalf))

In taking a fresh look at the plan for Brockville’s cycling network north of the 401 (see workplan here), City Council’s cycling advisory committee reviewed and reconfirmed the design principles guiding the selection of routes and facilities.

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FAQ: What Is an All Ages & Abilities Cycling Network

Brockville-20130614-00227DxO2Simply put, an “all ages & abilities” (“AAA”) cycling network is one comprised of high-quality bicycle facilities separated from traffic, or using streets with low vehicle volumes and speeds, to enhance the comfort and safety of those choosing to cycle for purpose or pleasure.  An 80 year old with an 8 year old ought to feel comfortable navigating the network together. One of the better descriptions of the facilities used in AAA networks, including protected bike lanes, neighbourhood greenways and off-road trails, is provided on this Victoria BC page: read more here.

Comments received on support petition

IbikeIvoteIn signing the petition to City Council in support of the cycling plan, to date over 200 have provided a comment as to why. Here they are, with names withheld for privacy. Those signing the petition did so of their own free will – without in-your-face bullying or intimidation.  These comments from the usually-silent majority speak to a healthier, more equitable, more active Brockville.  Continue reading “Comments received on support petition”

FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?

“Vehicular cycling” is a school of thought that claims people riding bikes are safest when driving their bikes as they would their cars by mixing with traffic boldly and confidently. While all users of public roads are expected to follow the traffic rules, “driving a bike” advocates have failed for 35 years to encourage the rapid adoption of cycling in N.A. as seen in Europe.  Vehicular cycling is a necessary yet entirely insufficient approach that remains a frustrating deterrent to mainstream cycling.  Continue reading “FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?”

FAQ: Impact of cycling facilities on property values

Portland residential protected bike lane
Protected bike lane in Portland neighbourhood

In cities that first embark on implementation of cycling facilities – whether on-road bike lanes or off-road multi-use paths or trails, local residents often speak out in concern for their property value. This concern is quickly put to rest once the cycling facilities are in place. Savvy Realtors now actively promote the value of cycling facilities, trails and greenways that make a neighbourhood more bike and walk friendly.

Updated March 30, 2016 with this new, compelling research including detailed case studies that clearly document the positive impact of active mobility facilities on real estate value. Read about the Urban Planning Institute report.

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FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.

Around Ontario and further afield, mayors are responding to widespread residents’ calls for trails and safer roads for active mobility.  They’re also acknowledging the economic competitive necessity. The result has been an increasing groundswell of activity in trails, cycling facilities, education and encouragement. As of May 2015, there were 28 Bicycle Friendly Communities that 60% of Ontarians call home.

Continue reading “FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.”

FAQ: Whose road is it?

Vancouver - photo
Vancouver – photo

“Many people believe that active transport modes (walking, cycling, and their variants, also called non-motorized or human-powered transport) have less right to use public roads than motorists, based on assumptions that non-motorized travel is less important than motorized travel, and active mode users pay less than their fair share of roadway costs. This report investigates these assumptions. It finds that active modes have legal rights to use public roads, that non-motorized travel plays unique and important roles in an efficient and equitable transport system, that motorists often benefit from pedestrian and cycling improvements, that motor vehicle use imposes external costs on active travel which creates demand for separated facilities, and because active modes impose
minimal roadway costs and pay general taxes that finance about half of roadway expenses they overpay their fair share of roadway costs.”
(Whose Road Is It, 2013, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Download the report…

FAQ: What about cities removing bike lanes? What’s up with that?

Recently, someone has claimed that cities in Canada are taking out bike lanes!  What’s the story there?  Well, apart from cherry-picking incidents out of context, a review of the Canadian scene reveals that cycling infrastructure is growing in leaps and bounds on a net basis.

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FAQ: What about bike lanes and intersections?

A common question about the protected bike lanes on Laurier Blvd is what will happen to the turning lanes at the intersection with Windsor Dr. Some are assuming that turning lanes would disappear, which is not correct. Laurier’s current configuration is actually quite accommodating – it’s a road that’s paved four lanes wide, but only has two travel lanes, making lots of room at intersections.

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FAQ: What are the benefits for those who choose not to cycle?

A reasonable question often asked is whether there are benefits from cycling infrastructure to anyone other than those few currently riding bikes.

While there are a number of well-demonstrated benefits, let’s focus this on Laurier Blvd.  Laurier is an “urban corridor” in transportation parlance, yet it didn’t start out that way. In the beginning it wasn’t connected to either California or Stewart – it was a family-friendly neighbourhood residential street. Today, it carries neighbourhood traffic, through traffic between Stewart and California and emergency response traffic from the firehall, and is described by some as a “NASCAR” track. Continue reading “FAQ: What are the benefits for those who choose not to cycle?”

FAQ: What are the benefits of cycling, or active transportation generally?

Designed To MoveIncreasing the modal share of cycling and walking offers a myriad of well-documented benefits to individuals, families, neighbourhoods, retail business areas, workplaces and society at large. The full diversity of health, social, environmental and economic benefits have been studied and documented for over a decade now.  (above infographic from Designed to Move)

Continue reading “FAQ: What are the benefits of cycling, or active transportation generally?”