I took this picture last year to make a point about the ludicrousness of some of the bike lanes (or lack thereof) in parts of Prince George. With spring cycling season here, I think it’s time to come back to it.
This picture is taken directly off of the highway. For a bike commuter like myself to follow the rules, I am supposed to ride directly beside high-speed traffic without so much as a white line to tell the driver where their space ends and mine begins. Bad enough under the best of conditions, but here’s what that lane looks like right now:
In case you don’t see it, it’s covered in gravel. This is the case throughout much of the city. Last week, I was riding down university hill, a high speed route. Piles of gravel were in one place– not the road, and not the sidewalk. The bike lane.
The possibility of losing control alongside vehicles moving at 50 km/h and up is worrying at the best of times. Piles of gravel make it that much more likely. And yet in order to follow the rules, I’m supposed to navigate my two-wheeled vehicle over slippery terrain.
Meanwhile, here’s the sidewalk I’m not allowed to use:
It’s covered in gravel, yes, but it’s also a lot wider. Also, you’ll note there’s no pedestrians in my picture. That’s not unusual. On my entire ride to and from work, I’ll pass maybe three people walking on the sidewalks, versus at least fifty vehicles that will pass me. And if there were an accident, which is likely to be worse: a biker wiping out on gravel and being hit/run over by a vehicle, or a biker colliding with a pedestrian?
Look, I’ll use roads and bike lanes where it’s reasonable to do so. But if there’s a bike lane barely as wide as my shoulders, it’s full of gravel, rush hour traffic is going by me, and there’s no one on the sidewalks– well, what would you do?
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