More cyclists are taking to the streets of Vancouver. According to ICBC, 99,000 cyclists got out and about citywide in 2014, up from 83,000 in 2013.
Unfortunately, BC roadways are intimidating places for cycling enthusiasts, and one of the major hindrances is the lack of safe and direct roadways.
A safe bike route may not be readily apparent, but with a little road sleuthing, you may find your commute can easily be biked.
Pay Attention to the Roads as You Drive to Work
Major highways are a no-go for bikes, but many main county or city roads are perfectly safe and legal for cyclists. Look for decent road shoulders. Roads without shoulders can be deadly for cyclists during rush hour, as impatient drivers will try to unsafely pass bicycles. Some roads have started incorporating bike lanes or parallel bike paths. Check out BikeMaps.org, a new map to help Vancouver cyclists plan a safe route.
Use Google Maps’ Bike Trip Planner
Google Maps now allows you to plan a trip using the bicycle option. Keep in mind, these are not always accurate, and while a road may be classified as legal for cyclists, it may not be the safest bet. Do a trial sweep of these routes on a day off to confirm that the roads really are bike friendly.
Plan Your Own Alternative Route
Do you drive to work on major roads with no room for bikes? There may be a few alternative routes through parkland and side-roads. Check out a good map of your commute and look for parkland with trails, residential side streets, and even designated bike paths. You may be able to connect your entire commute with bike friendly alternatives to the main roads.
Plan For Time and Attire
Once you have figured out a safe and pleasant bike route, give it a “test drive” on a day when you are not in a rush. See how long it takes you compared with your car commute so you can plan accordingly. Invest in waterproof clothing so you can arrive at work neat and dry.