Tag Archives: Safety

Cycling Backbone Route Networks for Lethbridge

BikeBridge has been working on an idea we are calling a Cycling Backbone Route (CBR) network.  It is our hope that such a network would provide a planning basis for where (and how) the City focuses on cycling infrastructure developments.  The CBR network would allow cyclists to ride year-round from and to any part of the city within a bike-prioritized, uninterrupted framework.  Essentially, cyclists could use existing roads and trails to reach a backbone route and then the connected network to reach other sections of our city.

A CBR is infrastructure and other supporting structures and systems that give priority to city-wide travel by bicycle.

Backbone routes broadly connect all sections of the city to each other: West-East (including the river valley), North-South (including Crows Nest Trail/Rail corridor), Lethbridge College to Downtown, access to South East warehouse retailing, access to and throughout Industrial Parks, access to downtown, access to University, access to West Lethbridge retail centre.  The Backbone functions like a transit route in that the cyclist accesses the nearest route by utilizing existing and unspecified roadways, pathway, etc.

The CBR network allows cyclists to traverse the city quickly, directly, safely, using moderate to low energy, year round.

A CBR primarily utilizes existing roadways, augmented by dedicated bikeways where needed to maintain connectivity (satisfy standards).  In order of priority, the CBR is applied using the following infrastructure and supporting systems:

1. Secondary and residential streets as Bicycle Boulevards
2. Arterial roadways as designated bike lanes
3. Dedicated Bikeways

1. Bicycle Boulevards

A bicycle boulevard is a low speed street which has been optimized for bicycle traffic. Bicycle boulevards discourage cut-through motor vehicle traffic but allow local motor vehicle traffic. They are designed to give priority to cyclists as through-going traffic. They are intended to improve cyclist comfort and/or safety through various means:

  • discouragement of non-local motor vehicle traffic;
  •  low speed limits;
  •  low motor vehicle traffic volumes;
  •  free-flow travel for bikes by assigning the right-of-way to the bicycle boulevard at intersections wherever possible;
  • traffic control to help bicycles cross major arterial roads; and
  • a distinctive look and/or ambiance such that cyclists become aware of the existence of the bike boulevard and motorists are alerted that the street is a priority route for bicyclists.

Bicycle boulevards use a variety of traffic calming elements to achieve a safe environment. For instance, diverters with bicycle cut-outs at mid-block allow motorists to enter the block in order to park or otherwise access a property, and allow cyclists to continue to the next block as well, but do not allow motorists to continue.

Bicycle boulevards often have higher road surface standards than other residential streets, and encourage riders to use the full lane, encouraging parity between bicycles and motor vehicles.

Bicycle boulevards have a snow removal (winter maintenance) and cleaning priority.

2. Designated Bike Lane

Bike lanes should only be required where routes cannot be provided using bicycle boulevards (given overall standards of safety and directness). Dedicated bike lanes are specifically markers areas on existing arterial and collector roadways for use only by cyclists (except where it is necessary for access purposes by other transportation users). Bike lanes include on street standardized lane marked areas that are maintained for all season use and include considerable signage, left turn cycling boxes and traffic signal activation.

Bike lanes have a snow removal (winter maintenance) and cleaning priority.

3. Dedicated Bikeways

Dedicated bikeways should only be required where a route cannot be provided using a bike boulevards of bike lanes (given overall standards of safety, directness and fitness).

A dedicated bikeway is essentially a two way physically separated (by distance or structures) bicycle freeway maximizing speed and minimizing intersection with other transportation users and minimizing physical requirements (grades). Bikeways are not “multi-use” facilities and may therefore required provision of separated facilities for pedestrians.

Bikeways could utilize exiting roadways using physical separation of cars from bikes using: planters, motor vehicle parking, and medians.
Bikeways have a snow removal (winter maintenance) and cleaning priority.

Benchmarking Report (2012)

(US) Alliance for Biking and Walking Releases 2012 Benchmarking Report

The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released its comprehensive report on cycling and walking infastructure, funding, and safety for 2012. The report shows that increasing bicycling and walking are goals that are clearly in the public interest.

Where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems.

As this report indicates, many states and cities are making progress toward promoting safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians, but much more remains to be done.

Highlights

Bicycling and Walking Levels

  • 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
  • From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.
  • In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Twenty-seven percent of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

  • 14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
  • In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities.

Public Health Benefits

  • 
Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
  • Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
  • 
In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

Economic Benefits


Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects.
Cost benefit analyses show that up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.

2012 Benchmarking Report

 

 

 

 

PRATS | Downtown Lethbridge – Bicycle Users’ Considerations

The City Community Planning Department is undertaking PRATS**, a Public Realm and Transportation Study for Downtown Lethbridge to assist in the fulfillment of the Heart of Our City Master Plan vision.

As part of the study, BikeBridge is being included as a stakeholder to provide the perspective of the bicycle transportation user in Downtown Lethbridge.

Charrettes Design Sessions From June 13 through the 16, the City is holding a charrette design session where stakeholders will come together to explorer ideas for the study area and downtown.  BikeBridge will have a representative in attendance.

June 7, BikeBridge submitted a “PRATS Downtown Bicycle User Considerations” paper as a guide for consideration of bicycle transportation use downtown generally and the for charrette design process.  The Paper can be viewed as a PDF on Google Docs.

Please refer back to this website posting periodically for updates and information on the PRATS process: developments as well as noted concerns.

The BikeBridge Board encourages your ideas and comments, please feel free to add those as comments to this post.

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** PRATS will outline short to medium term (10-20 years) strategies encompassing improvements to the public realm components including: the transportation network, streetscapes, open spaces, gateways & public art, pedestrian and cycling connections, public transit, and public parking.  Recommendation will be expected to effectively address both current and future developments in downtown Lethbirdge.

Currently the Study Areas:

The current study area is along 5th ST S from 5th AVE to 1 AVE, and includes 2 AVE S from Scenic Drive to 5 ST, 3 AVE S from 4 ST to 5 ST and a section of 3 AVE from 7 ST to 8 ST

Motorists, cyclists – education and respect needed

by: Constance Sheriff  date:  November 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor, Lethbridge Herald

As an avid cyclist who regularly commutes to work, I have had some unpleasant interactions with motorists recently. Lethbridge is not an especially safe city for cyclists, but motorists and cyclists are often both to blame. For example, some motorists do not accept that I am entitled to cycle on the road,

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Getting Cycling Across

Getting Cycling Across

By: Gail Meston

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s a regular urban cyclist who routinely rides instead of driving, I find Lethbridge drivers to be quite courteous and careful of cyclists (with the noted exception of motorists on cell phones making turns at intersections!)  I often ride my bike on the road because it is smoother, faster, more direct, and generally freer of stops and starts and obstructions – really, the same things a motorist wants getting from point A to point B efficiently.

Whether out of courtesy or confusion, drivers often stop to give me the right of way when I am stopped on a side road waiting to cross a busy street.  I almost always wave them on and I can tell they are confused by that.   Maybe this will help:

According to law, a motorist must stop for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk.  However, as a cyclist on the road, I am neither a pedestrian nor in the crosswalk.   In fact, under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, I am operating a vehicle when I am riding a bike on the road.   Therefore, all a driver has to do is recognize that I am an operator of a vehicle and follow the familiar traffic law – namely, proceed on your merry way and leave the crossing responsibility to me as you would any other vehicle.  I will eventually find a break in the traffic and be able to cross legally.

Legalities aside, when a motorist stops for me to cross, it disrupts the regular flow of traffic and causes confusion for everyone.  No one knows what to do then and that jeopardizes everyone’s safety.  Ironically, because the flow of traffic has been altered, I will have to wait longer for my “break” than if the flow had not been disturbed.

I strive to be viewed as a responsible cyclist who has rights to use the road.  I take those rights seriously in the hope of demonstrating that cyclists and motorists can indeed share the road.  I take those rights joyfully in the hope of encouraging others to discover the delights and wide-ranging benefits of cycling as alternative transportation.