commute · cycling

Riding in Vancouver: Sam has three thoughts about bike lanes

I visited Vancouver for the American Philosophical Association (APA) Meeting last week and the weather was perfect. It rained during the conference and then on the last day the sun emerged from behind the fog and the clouds. Yes! I even got that rarest of things, a Vancouver sun burn. Sarah and I rented bikes and noodled through Stanley Park and then set off on several about town journeys. We loved the bike lanes in Vancouver.

Here’s a few quick thoughts about our bike lane experiences.

1. Commuting versus doing things: We loved that bike lanes weren’t just for commuters. They didn’t just go from the suburbs to downtown–as many bike lanes do. Instead, they allowed traffic in and around city neighbourhoods. I thought about this in connection to Rebecca Kukla‘s APA talk, “Mapping movement in urban space” which talked about the tension between neighourhoods as places to be lived in versus neighbourhoods as places to bike through and the importance of mapping data. (I have thoughts here about Strava’s heat maps which are sometimes used as information about routes cyclists take and are used as data to inform bike lane planning. But of course, only “serious” cyclists use Strava and so the data leaves out information about slow riders, the cargo bikers etc. )

2. Signage: We also loved the signs that told us whether roads were closed to all traffic or just cars, and that cyclists but not cars could turn right on red. Thank you Vancouver!

3. Separate from pedestrians too: Some but not all of the bike lanes were completely separate from cars. That’s nice. But it was especially nice that they were often also physically separate from pedestrian pathways.

I’m definitely riding in Vancouver the next time I go. And uh, oh, I’m bike browsing again!

Image description: Smiling Sam with her rental bike in front of a sign that says “Road closed, except bicycles.”
Image description: Pink tree in full bloom. It’s spring in Vancouver!
Image description: Samantha and Sarah selfie in front of Earth Day parade on Commercial Drive
Image description: View from seawall bike path in Stanley Park
Image description: Red and white hotel bikes
Image description: Blue and green rental bikes
Image description; Sad bike in the sea

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