City Cycling Safety/Lane study?

News out of transportation committee today: a motion from Clive Doucet calls for a city-wide study of cycling safety hazards and whether or not segregated lanes might be a solution. The Citizen and CBC have it covered.

Doucet, quoted in the CBC:

“I hope to see Ottawa becoming much safer,” Doucet said Wednesday. “We’ll hopefully have an east-west dedicated lane through the centre of the city, which we don’t have now. I mean talk to my staff, who come to work down Gladstone and have to share the lane with a bus — pretty scary.”

Now, I bike down Gladstone all the time and have never really felt unsafe given the volume of traffic. But I also bike 9 months of the year and contribute to a cycling blog, so I’m probably not the best judge of average. A full set of city-wide cycling lanes designed for commuting would certainly be nice, and would probably help to get more people onto bikes. I know I’d certainly appreciate something a bit more dedicated in the downtown core, given that Queen St., and the risk of door prizes and people making blind right turns, represents that most dangerous couple minutes of my day.

These lanes require dedicated funding for cycling projects, which have been something that the city has not always been great about finding. Also, while it doesn’t seem to be in either of the links above, I seem to recall staff mentioning somewhere else that in most of the areas where we’ve seen accidents segregated lanes are not really feasible.

These now go onto full council for further discussion, so emailing your councilor support would be handy.

4 Responses to “City Cycling Safety/Lane study?”

  • anon says:

    I’ve actually been doored twice on Gladstone, and now feel safe only when taking the entire lane… which drivers seem to dislike.

    Even so, we need segregated lanes in Ottawa not for people like you and I who already feel relatively safe, but for the huge percentage of the population that doesn’t cycle, but could given the right conditions. Sense of safety (perceived or real) is consistently cited as the number one reason for choosing not to cycle.

    On the funding front: the city has 16 million from the Feds for cycling infrastructure in 2010. The Ottawa Cyling Plan calls for 5 million of municipal revenue to be spent per year — admitedly, this has been on hold so far, but should begin very soon.

    The question of feasibility is an interesting one. We often can’t simply add bike lanes downtown because, by and large, there is no space. This is why cycling infrastructure requires a change in thinking: city planners needs to start thinking about converting some infrastructure currently dedicated to cars, to cycling lanes. Ottawa’s cycling coordinator knows this, but I’m not sure he has much support on the issue. Fortunately, in every example I have heard of, this type of approach has reduced congestion, not created it.

  • Mike says:

    Obviously, I totally agree.

    The proposed cycling funding in the city budget for this year is a welcome change, as is the extra staff to support Robin Bennett. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the downtown: an obvious solution would be to convert the albert/slater bus lanes to cycling routes once the transit tunnel is completed, but that’s a long ways away and would be sure to cause a stink.

  • Betsy says:

    I bought a bike after not having one since I was a kid when I moved to Ottawa last year. I enjoy riding on the path by the canal, or on Colonel By when it was closed for cycling last summer, but I definitely do not feel comfortable on most surface streets yet.

  • Mike says:

    My wife was the same way, having not been on a bike in more than a decade prior to coming to Ottawa. She stuck to the NCC paths for the first while before transitioning to quieter side streets with marked cycling routes.

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