A separated bike lane that opens on Dunsmuir Street today is a “huge” step in getting people onto bicycles and out of their cars, say cycling advocates in Vancouver.
The two-way bike lane is separated from traffic by a concrete barrier and runs from the Dunsmuir Viaduct to Hornby Street.
Kay Teschke, a University of B.C. professor, said women, people with children and the elderly don’t feel safe and are much less likely than young men to jump on bikes to get across town.
According to her research, bike lanes separated by barriers, like the Dunsmuir route, rank in the top three safest for riders.
“To be able to have your transportation be fun, is great,” said Teschke. “But to have it be nerve-wracking is not so great.”
Council approved the $810,000 bike lane near the end of May. It opens today at the mid-point of bike month.
Eventually, the Dunsmuir route will be connected to a second separated bike route running from the Burrard Street Bridge to the Coal Harbour waterfront.
Arno Schortinghuis, president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, said perception of safety is the most important factor in getting people on bicycles.
“The barrier makes a lot of difference to a lot of people,” he said.