I was very saddened and disappointed with the council decision about bike lanes.
From my point of view, they have effectively gutted the commuting lanes to the point of irrelevance, or cancellation of the project. There is mention of a future evaluation, but how can this be anything but a farce? The lanes weren’t even in for a season and cyclists were just beginning to tentatively get onto them.
Even before the lanes were completed, I used them every work day to bicycle commute to and from work. They were safe and I never saw traffic congestion. On one recent evening commute, at about 5:15 on 55th Street, I was passed by only one vehicle, which I caught at the next red light. Seven went by me between Ross and 39th Streets. I missed counting on the hill. Hardly congestion.
Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that there even is a need for lanes. These are due to the aggressive and often illegal driving habits of a few who at best scared cyclists off their bicycles, and at worst did physical damage. Changing the reprehensible behaviour and attitude of these people may be the most difficult of all, particularly that they now apparently have the ear of council.
The gutting of the commuting bicycle lanes leaves few alternatives. The multi-use trails are very conducive to recreational riding, but rather dangerous for commuting as the commuter must contend with pedestrians, strollers, dogs, and intersections with crosswalks, which must be avoided, not to mention obscure routing.
That leaves only the option of being out in the lane in the traffic, hoping the drivers will obey the law and respect the cyclists’ privilege of the lane, the same privilege and restrictions accorded to a motorized vehicle.
Unfortunately, the laws of physics are such that even if the cyclist is not at fault, we lose, and the aggressive drivers know and generously apply that law.