Last Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | 8:42 AM ET Comments63Recommend33
Cycling advocates are divided over whether putting posts or other barriers between bike lanes and other road lanes makes for safer driving conditions. (CBC)
Ottawa’s cycling community is divided over whether a proposed plan to install a barriered bike lane along a downtown street will make city streets safer.
City council is expected to consider on Wednesday the pilot project to create a segregated cycling lane. Public input and consultations would follow, after which a decision would be made about location. City officials said one option is to have barriers span a few blocks along Somerset.
Cycling Vision Ottawa co-founder Dianne Cox said a similar pilot project in New York City has decreased cycling accidents since the barriers were put in place.
But Avery Burdett, past president of the Ottawa Cycling Club, said he doesn’t believe segregated bicycle lanes are the answer and that cyclists need to learn how to share the road with cars.
“People say that the barriers give them a sense of security, but actually they give them a false sense of security,” said Burdett.
Danger spots to be identified
The discussion comes two days after a merging car struck a cyclist Monday morning at Sussex Drive and Stanley Avenue.
55-year-old Francois Dumas suffered only minor injuries after being thrown from his bike, though his bike was crushed.
Dumas said cycling anywhere in the downtown is a dangerous game.
“Any connection through the downtown core is sketchy, you have to wing it, it’s a bit like commando biking,” said Dumas.
It wasn’t the first time the intersection of Sussex Drive and Stanley Avenue, where two lanes of traffic merge and connect with a bike path, has been identified as a safety concern for cyclists.
Melanie Harris was killed on Sept.16 when she was struck by a Société de Transport de l’Outaouais bus in front of the Foreign Affairs building at 125 Sussex Dr.
Michael Powell of the city’s cycling advisory committee said the confusing confluence of road and bike lanes creates a dangerous situation. A city study expected this month will examine dangerous spots for cyclists and ways to make them safer
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/04/28/ott-bike-lane-downtown.html#ixzz0mcnIjMS3