December 05 2012

Infrastructure Projects Big and Small Make Cycling Safer in Kelowna, Canada

For a city of nearly 180,000, Kelowna, Canada boasts one of the most extensive bike networks in the country. Spread across the city are over 300 kilometres of bike lanes, multi-use paths, and greenways. Infrastructure projects such as the Mission Creek Greenway and Rails with Trails corridor show Kelowna’s dedication to encouraging cycling as a viable transportation method.

But why pour money into cycling infrastructure when you can just paint some sharrows on the road?

Cycling in Kelowna, CanadaA 2012 study out of Vancouver and Toronto found a correlation between the safety of a cycling route and the preferences of cyclists. Urban planners and developers take note: the researchers concluded that, “the lower risks on quiet streets and with bike-specific infrastructure along busy streets support the route-design approach used in many northern European countries.” The most preferred forms of infrastructure are separated bike paths, multi-use pathways, and quiet or calmed streets with dedicated bike lanes.

Kelowna, then, can justify the creation of greenways and multi-use paths in the name of encouraging cycling and making the activity safer. That said, the city’s transportation department has still made good use of paint in making busy streets safer. In 2010, many bike lanes in Kelowna received a fresh coat of green paint, marking the areas where traffic lanes cross into the designated bike lanes. These stripes of green can be seen at some of the busier intersections, reminding drivers to check their blind spots before making a turn.

Green bike lane in Vancouver, Canada

Coloured bike lanes have only recently been adopted by North American cities. Used for many years in Europe, coloured bike lanes are a proven way to decrease collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles. A feeling of safety is also instrumental in encouraging people to cycle. If these successes are seen in Kelowna, more intersections could see a splash of green paint.

Do you feel safe cycling in your city? What does your city do, or what could it do, to make cycling more appealing?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Jordan Rockerbie

Jordan Rockerbie is a former The Grid blogger and a graduate of the University of British Columbia, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies with a minor in Geography. Originally from Victoria, BC, Canada, he has also made his home in Kelowna, BC, Canada; Banff, AB, Canada; and Singapore. He has a budding interest in urban planning and design, inspired by the vibrant cities he calls home and the natural landscapes that form their backdrop. His passions lie in architecture, parks, active transportation, and innovative redevelopment.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 6:29 pm and is filed under Environment, Infrastructure, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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