THAT is a green bike lane - will it make a difference, will it make them safer?

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 6, 2014



Will we make the Guinness Book of Records for this – having the first green bike lanes in the province?

They are being installed this week at the intersections of Fairview Street and Guelph Line and Prospect Street and Guelph Line.

Green bike lanes

That’s not grass – that is green paint intended to help car drivers understand the road is to be shared and to let cyclists know it is safe for them to use the bike lanes.

The green bike lanes are intended to help highlight the bike lane portion of the road, reminding motorists and cyclists to be aware of each other and drive with caution.

This is especially important at intersections where cars must cross over the bike lane to make a right-hand turn.

The new road markings are being installed as part of the resurfacing project on Guelph Line and Fairview Street.

Robert Narejko, a former chair of the city’s Cycling Committee is delighted with the road colouring and said: “Bringing awareness to cycling issues is a positive step forward for the safety of all road users.

Narejko Rob-with-bikes

Rob Narejko, a former Cycling Committee chair looks forward to streets with green bike lanes.

“In our car centered culture, the green lanes will provide an ever present reminder of extremely vulnerable road users whose only protection is the vigilance of the car driver. Just as a cyclist wants to come home safely, no car driver wants the memory of clipping a cyclist causing injuries that may never heal.”
“The green lanes are a good addition to Burlington’s cycling infrastructure, helping its citizens, cyclists and drivers, feel safer on the road.”

Let’s see how the public takes to the new colour scheme – they are not going to be easy to miss.


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12 comments to THAT is a green bike lane – will it make a difference, will it make them safer?

  • Stephen

    Not a fan of painting bike

  • tenni

    Bicycles are vehicles. Sidewalks were always intended for pedestrian traffic and not vehicular traffic. When I was a child bicycles were licensed by the city that I lived in but bikes were mainly used by children.

    Today, there is a shift in society to encourage bicycles as a eco and cheap means of travel in a city. Cyclist pay taxes. They have a right to demand that roads be adjusted for their use.

    Keep bikes off the sidewalks and certainly any motorized vehicle like an e bike.

  • James

    Maggie, of course you have as much right to use the roads as anyone, nobody is saying otherwise. Similarly, I have just as much right to use the sidewalk as anyone, but that doesn’t mean I can drive my car on it. Roads, sidewalks, multi-purpose pathways, they all have a purpose. My point is that on the busy roads in Burlington, the speed of traffic is around 60km/hr (forget what the speed limits say, and what’s right or wrong, I’m talking about the actual on the ground fact that vehicles travel over the speed limit). If vehicles are travelling at 60km/hr on a road with other vehicles travelling 60km/hr, and then suddenly you throw a bike into the mix where you’re pedalling at 20km/hr, you’re a slowly moving obstacle, and it creates an unsafe scenario for both vehicles and cyclists alike. Most cyclists I’ve seen have no respect for the rules of the road either, which makes their movements even more unpredictable. If it’s dark, motorists can’t see you. If it’s dark and rainy, you may as well be invisible. I’m telling you, having vehicles and bicycles moving at two extremely different speeds on the same roads is unsafe.

    Solution: Multi-purpose pathways. Keep pedestrians, cyclists, e-bikes and the like off the roads, and in their dedicated pathways – away from vehicular traffic. Granted, this isn’t an overnight fix, but with proper planning, a multi-purpose pathway system could be developed over time to provide great SAFE access for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate the city.

    For a cyclist, an accident on one of these multi-purpose pathways means someone leaves with a bruised elbow. An accident on the roads means someone is scraping your body out from underneath a transport truck. Just because you’ve been successful in navigating the roads on your bicycle thus far, doesn’t mean there’s not a Dodge Ram bumper out there somewhere with your name on it.

  • Maggie

    James(bikes have no business playing in traffic on major streets). As a taxpayer I have just as much right to use the roads as anyone. I am not “playing in traffic”. I am using my bike to get to where I need to go. As Chris mentioned many destinations are not accessible by back roads. To get to both Burlington and Mapleview malls, both of which I have had jobs at, you need to ride on main roads. Busing is not always an option, especially at night. When I worked at Burlington mall I had to wait almost an hour for a bus and then I still had almost a half hour walk from the nearest bus stop to my house. Two hours for what was about a 15 minute drive or 25 minute bike ride. I have ridden on main roads for most of my life in all kinds of weather and will continue to do so.

  • Steve Robinson

    Time for actual license plates, stickers, and yearly fees for bicycles now.

    • Chris Ariens

      Sounds fair in theory, but with this idea, everyone loses.

      Those of us who sometimes cycle and sometimes drive cars (nearly 85% of all cyclists) – do we now have to pay for two licences? Forget it – I’ll just drive my car and add to your daily traffic congestion. So you spend more time in traffic and less time with your family. You and I both lose.

      The number of people who would pay for such a licence would not allow for the same economies of scale which allow us to administer a licencing system at a cost of about $30 per driver. It’s likely the cost of administration will greatly exceed the revenue, so all taxpayers would lose.

      And those who rely solely on the bicycle for transportation now have spend money on licensing, which puts a greater burden on the young and the poor, reducing their opportunity to improve their situation. So society loses.

      Every city that had instituted bicycle liscensing in the past has ended those programs because they offer no benefits whatsoever.

    • JQ Public

      And exactly what will your suggestion do Steve, other than create another bureaucracy of paperwork and make work jobs, not supported by the fees charged?

    • henri de boujoulais

      … to what end Steve?

      What about the benefits of cycling? Such as:
      – removing a car from the road, thus reducing congestion and wear on the infrastructure
      – the improved mental and physical health of the regular cycling commuter, thus reducing health care expenses for all Ontarians

      Maybe cyclists should be paid to ride their bikes more!!! But that will never work! The cyclists I know love to ride. And they do it for many reasons that benefit them personally and society as a whole.

      Thanks for posting this article. It is good to see a civil dialogue on cycling.

  • Roger

    I am a cyclist and will not ride on the roads and only if necessary – unless there is a physical barrier – this is just a waste of paint – the existing bike lanes on Fairview are often parking areas for city vehicles and contractors – the effort is noble but neither make me feel safe and I am in agreement with Greg – I will stay off the lanes

  • James

    I don’t agree with this at all. Our major streets are very busy, and the lanes are tight enough as it is. Bikes have no business playing in traffic on major streets, with or without an abundance of ugly green paint.

    I’m sorry, but bikes are not the same as cars. They don’t follow the rules of the road, they can’t maintain speeds consistent with the vehicular traffic, they’re hard to see, and in general do not belong on busy streets. Like the running of the bulls, you can pedal as fast as you can, and sometimes the bull will run right around you without incident, but if one does happen to catch you, the bull will win every time. I’m all for a bicycle friendly city, and for using alternate forms of transportation to help get cars off the road, but bikes riding on major streets is not, in my opinion, something we should be promoting. It’s just an accident waiting to happen.

    There are plenty of quieter side streets just one road off the main roads that will get bicyclists to their destinations just as quickly and directly, which are much safer options. Those are the streets that should be painted green. Keep bikes off Brant, Guelph, Walkers, Appleby, Burloak, Lakeshore, Fairview, Harvester, Mainway, Upper Middle, and Dundas. Same goes for those e-bikes.

    • Chris Ariens

      The problem is, nearly all destinations in Burlington – workplaces, shopping centres, GO stations, crossings of the highway, are located on one of the major streets.

      The streets you have named are all local roads – not limited access highways like the 403/QEW. Drivers need to expect to encounter cyclists and pedestrians when using them. Everywhere on-road bike lanes have been installed, the width of automobile lanes remain at or above engineering standards. Motorists are losing nothing here.

      Most people, whether they be cyclists or drivers, would prefer to see greater separation from cars and trucks than just a painted line. But that needs to be built in when the roads are constructed, or over time as our budget and space allows. While I don’t believe that paint is enough protection, and does little to encourage greater numbers of people to cycle, it is definitely an improvement over the status quo, and a relatively inexpensive one at that.

  • Greg Woodruff

    You said it; “feel safer on the road”, but of course not actually be safer. I’m all for advancing active transportation by spending money on it. I’m not for installing what is statistically, logically and obviously a dangerous setup. Every place that has any real usage and bikes near cars has a significant number of fatalities. While I love riding my bike I do not believe cycling is worth human lives. We are going to kill some poor kid on these things – and shame on all of us.

    “In New York, the majority of 255 cyclist deaths from 1996-2005 happened in mixed traffic. Only 1 of the total of 255 cyclist fatalities in that period occurred on a separated bike lane.”

    Please stay off these lanes and urge anyone you care about to do the same.