I had a chat with one of our traffic planners who lives in Guelph. Guelph police are inforcing the no bicycles on sidewalks by-law. The result. Less people riding bikes.
Instead of riding on the road, people are going back to cars. Her question to me: Do I want less people riding bikes and more riding cars?
Darn. Well of course I want more people riding bikes.
Apparently 60 percent of riders ride on sidewalks at some point. Having had trucks blow by me, I understand that riders just feel safer.
In fact, bicyclists are no safer on the sidewalk than on the road. Why? Most collisions occur at driveways and at corners.
We next discussed whether the no bikes on sidewalks is a by-law that should be removed since it isn’t enforced. I suspect though that it would be enforced on complaint. I’m not prepared to remove the by-law as I worry that even more bicyclists would be on the sidewalks.
The region is presently looking at multi-use trails by the road (so cars can see cyclists at those corners, not have them pop out from nowhere) instead of sidewalks for some regional roads. Road warriors could still ride on the road and in bike lanes.
Since our planner is on a provincial committee on pedestrian safety, I pointed out that bridges going over the 401 and other highways often don’t have sidewalks or bike lanes as these are usually provincial bridges. Or should we build more pedestrian/cycling overpasses? I like to point out that you can cross a river with a boat but you can’t cross a 401 or expressway when you are a pedestrian or cyclist. So how do you get across the highway?
Our planner would like trails to be 3 meters not 5 as proposed. I suggest everyone get out a meter stick and measure how wide that is. 5 meters is much wider than a traffic lane. I find from GRCA where people worry about a house 120 meters from a wet land (approx half a mile) that perhaps we don’t know the real distances with measures.