Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2019/ Separated Bike Lanes: A Pictorial Followup

Separated Bike Lanes: A Pictorial Followup

As a followup to my last post on bike lanes, I took some pictures after the first big snowfall. The first big snowfall was Monday, Nov 11. I went down University to get to a meeting on the evening of Wednesday, Nov 13, and it was bad. Unfortunately it was dark and my camera was acting up, so I did not take good pictures.

I next used the bike infrastructure on Friday, Nov 15 (a full four days after the snowstorm) and I took some pictures of conditions along the University "protected" lanes. Clicking any image should bring up a bigger version, if it matters.

Cycling was much easier on Friday but parts of the bike lane remained awful.

Bad Transitions

Sure enough, the protected bike lanes lined by bollards and concrete were cleared by a separate machine. However, areas of the bike lane that did not have bollards were not so lucky. The main street cleaner weaved in and out of the bike lane, leaving icy, snowy strips for cyclists to traverse.

Here are a couple of pictures on University between Phillip and the train tracks:

across the bike lane near Phillip, cyclist view

across the bike lane near Phillip, looking backwards

You can see how the strip of snow crosses the bike lane. This is dangerous because you need to cross that (possibly slippery) slip when getting past the bike lane, and then you end up in the plaza turn lane.

The situation going the other way (University near King, beside the bus shelters) is not much better:

across the bike lane near King St, cyclist view

This stretch was not fun on Friday, but it was positively treacherous on Wednesday.


Another problem were driveways adjoining the bike lane. Sometimes these driveways were not shovelled. Then cars leaving the driveway would track snow right across the bike lane.

These images do not look too bad in these images, but on Wednesday they were treacherous. You can still see that the driveways are not fully shovelled.

tracking snow across the bike lane.

unshovelled driveway


There were several chunks of snow that had fallen into the bike lane by Friday. I was able to navigate around them, but there was not much room, and this is indicative of the kind of debris that causes real trouble when you are trapped between bollards and curb:

chunks in the bike lane

More snow
chunks in the bike lane

more snow chunks in the bike lane

Just for a little variety, here is a lawn sign that was patiently waiting to trip some bicyclist up. Fortunately there were no bollards in this section, but will we always be so lucky?

A fallen
sign in the bike lane


Oh look. Some people have decided that the bike lane is a good place to wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they can cross the road:

People standing in the bike lane

Lane Restrictions

As a bonus, here is a visual indication of how the bike lane has been narrowed in order to install the bollards. You can see how the original bike symbol is now cut off.

Smaller lane indication

I guess the counterargument is that we can now cycle in the gutter because it is protected. Whee.

Pointing Fingers

Is any of this worth complaining about? If so, who should face the blame?

Maybe this is not worth complaining about. We had another snowfall on Sunday Dec 1, and by Thursday Dec 5 the bike lanes were pretty clear (but we had some nice moderate temperatures in between). It is possible the Region learned its lesson from that first snowfall, and the lanes will all be cleared properly now.

If the Region has not cleaned up its act (so to speak) then this is very much worth complaining about, because I strongly feel these bollards has made me less safe as a cyclist. I feel the Region (and the bike zealots) should be held responsible for the condition of the infrastructure they are imposing on me.

Is the Region to blame for everything? I am not sure. We can blame the people standing in the bike lane for standing in the bike lane, maybe, but maybe not -- the Region has created infrastructure that makes people think the bike lanes are a traffic island. I do feel comfortable blaming the driveway-owners for not clearing their driveways. I also feel comfortable with blaming the Region for making transitions between bollard and non-bollard sections of the bike lane so treacherous.

Are any of the problems I pointed out actually dangerous? Yes. Any patches of snow in the bike lanes turn to patches of ice when it gets colder, and that is treacherous. Going home on Wednesday was a real trial -- and that was TWO DAYS after the storm. Homeowners are expected to clear their sidewalks 24 hours after a snowstorm, but the Region is exempt from clearing its bike lanes properly after TWO DAYS?

Of course, lots of people (including you, probably) are pointing fingers at me, for being an idiot and cycling in the winter. Fair enough. I would still have a better time getting around town without the additional problems this "helpful" infrastructure is supposed to offer.