The new bicycle lanes in Edmonton’s downtown have brought with them a bit of controversy and a certain degree of confusion.
Along with new signs, painted streets, and even an “education team” available to help guide cyclists, a “new mindset” has been proposed by the city’s transportation planner, Don Laing. He states, “It’s going to be different for the first little while” and he encourages the virtue of patience for both cyclists and motorists alike.
Awareness is key for drivers and “at every access point”, states Laing, “they need to do a good, solid right shoulder check”.
At question, for both drivers and cyclists is, how long will this learning curve take? Some new drivers say they lack confidence now, as the new bicycle lane system was not taught to them in their driver training. So how is everyone supposed to automatically “know” the rules?
Green stripes and green boxes will indicate to cyclists and motorists, that cyclists either have to follow pedestrian rules and/or use the green stripes painted on the road as a guide. “Cyclists making left and right turns will not use the same routes as motorists; they will make an indirect turn mapped out by the green stripes”.
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“As a courtesy”, states Laing, cars need to stop behind the green boxes so cyclists can turn into them and stage themselves”. Both cyclists and motorists are by commonsense for safety, required to look ALL ways before continuing on their way when either stopped at a green box on a bicycle or navigating through intersections in a vehicle.
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White boxes have been added as well, with an “x” inside. These are put in place so that vehicles will stop and leave a gap several feet back from the usual stopping zone. “These boxes are meant to give motorists a buffer zone while making turns” as some roads have been definitively narrowed due to the new bike lanes.
In Calgary, over 100 alterations had to be followed once the street markings had been painted. Edmonton is attempting to learn from Calgary’s team to not make the same initial errors.
Laing states that expectations in Edmonton are positive and that although certain painted areas appear as though they are already painted and in place, some tweaking of the initial zones may be updated to make “everything as easy as possible” for cyclists and motorists alike.
This article was written by Donna Murchie.