Truthfully, I have always felt that getting people out of their vehicles and into other modes of transportation is a great idea. I have kinda been on the fence when it comes to the bike lanes because as a driver I have felt like they don’t provide adequate protection between myself and the cyclist. The bike lane idea has been implemented better in other areas of the country but after using it; I really like our system.
Could the bike lane system be better? Absolutely, everything can be improved and be refined to make it better for the user. The system we have now works great when everyone plays their part and respects the other. I have personally criticized bikers on social media for their failure to stop and failure to follow the rules of the road. I know we have all criticized drivers for their lack of respect on the road and bad habits. Luckily, today I was able to catch a number of respectful Thunder Bay drivers that allowed me to enjoy my bike ride to and from boulevard lake. The bike lanes may simply be a painted line and drawings in the middle of the road but it give you a sense of security. The previous night I biked home where there were no bike lanes and found myself squeezed between vehicles and the curb. Without the lanes I had a hard time judging where it was acceptable for me to ride safely and for drivers to pass me. This wasn’t an issue with the bike lanes as it was clearly marked for the rookie cyclist I was. I knew heading home that the intersection of Balsam and Van Norman would be a challenge but with a clearly marked bike lane I was able to make it through safely. The process was clearly defined for everyone at the intersection and everyone made it through and on their way.
I believe that the city should continue to invest in these alternative modes of transportation. I’m super excited to see that the city has added multi-use trails to the new redevelopment of golf links road. This should provide the next link in a North-South corridor for bikes. I would like to see the city invest in higher traffic areas a divider that would provide that security blanket for cyclists and look into painting the pathways they are on. The city of Kelowna has their bike lanes painted green in heavily trafficked areas, it is easily visible and clearly marks the lanes. Something like this would add a little cost to the city’s budget for bike lanes and active transportation but would be well worth it. Helping to build the network within our heavily trafficked areas will help to reduce the amount of pollution we create and create a healthier community.
As a rookie I am enjoying the bike lanes and think I will expand my biking horizon into the future. Good Work Thunder Bay!