Growing Support for Vancouver’s Separated Bike Lanes

The bike lane controversy in Vancouver continues. This time the debate surrounds a proposal for a new route in Kitsilano along the Point Grey-Cornwall corridor.

Those opposed are quick to criticize Mayor Gregor Robertson. A new Kits resident himself, “Mayor Moonbeam” will have bike lanes “right to the office,” writes one sarcastic critic.

Many oppose bike lanes because of the perceived havoc they cause motorists and business owners. Opponents say traffic backs up, parking becomes a problem, and accessibility to businesses is lost along bike routes.

But new data suggests that support for separated bike lanes in Metro Vancouver is actually on the rise.

A recent poll finds that 61% of Metro Vancouver residents support bike lanes, while only 33% oppose them. The majority of respondents recognize benefits like greater protection for road users, including cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, and recognize the benefits of healthy living.

Another reason to support designated bike lanes: cycling is actually the fastest-growing mode of transportation in Vancouver. According to city data, bike trips increased 40% between 2008 and 2011.

In April, Vancouver’s separated bike lanes recorded nearly 200,000 trips. The Burrard Bridge bike lane recorded 80,000 monthly trips; the Hornby Street bike lane recorded about 33,000; Dunsmuir Street had 38,000, and the Dunsmuir Viaduct 39,000.

And why not? Compared to driving, cycling is cheap, it’s health-conscious, and it reduces our carbon footprint.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that support for bike lanes in the city is increasing. Motorists may not like having to change their daily routine, but as new data suggests, people do adapt.

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James Richards
James Richards
James Richards is a born and raised Vancouverite who studied History, Political Science and Law at University of British Columbia. His over 20 years of legal practice and a busy and active family gives him his purpose, focus and some good writing material. When not in work–mode, he enjoys any excuse to be out and about our amazing city.