Bike Routes and Bike Lanes

Obviously, we’ve been gaining many dedicated bike lanes in Vancouver for some years. Most recently, the focus seems to be on making these lanes more visible by painting them a bright green. That’s great!

But why stop there?

How about intersections on bike routes?

One of the greatest danger spots on my commute through Dunbar is the traffic circle at 29th/Blenheim. Blenheim is a very convenient and reasonably fast N-S connection for many people from Kits to Kerrisdale or even on through to Richmond/YVR. While this is not a highway and people aren’t going crazy fast, it’s also not a back street.

The intersection has been changed to a traffic circle in the past two years or so where traffic in the circle has the right of way. What that means to me is: if I’m in the intersection as a car approaches, I have the right away. Or, if I arrive at the intersection when a car is approaching, I’m entering the circle first and would have the right of way.

There are signs that signify that one should yield when entering the traffic circle and this is also how the circle further down on Blenheim (37th, I think, also a bike route) as well as the larger traffic circle at 16th/Wesbrook operates.

However, the notion that cars should yield to a bike that’s in the circle already does not appear to be very clear to drivers.

As I’m about to enter the traffic circle, all too often a car is approaching at great enough speed and with not apparent intention to slow down to keep me from actually entering the circle. Yes, I’m stubborn and self-righteous but not so much so that I will hurl myself in front of traffic.

For a while I thought that a traffic education campaign with police posted near the circles and stopping “offenders” to educate them would be the best way to go, but I wonder whether a green stripe across the circle marking the bike route wouldn’t also be quite effective.

With the preponderance of bright green downtown to mark bike lanes, why not keep going with that theme?

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