Questions about sharing the road, bike lanes, etc.

107 posts / 0 new
Last post
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We only have gravel roads here, not very well maintained, lots of potholes. I use an old Canadian Tire beater with heavy tires to get around. I'm interested in an electric bike - I think they get up to 50 km on a single charge!  I'd be lucky to do 50 km in a month.Laughing

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This looks interesting: US Bicycle Route System


excerpt (from the Facebook page):


The USBRS project is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Members of the task force include officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, and nonprofits like Adventure Cycling Association, East Coast Greenway Alliance, and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.

I'd love to see a similar idea take root in Canada.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Actually, as I discovered this morning on another forum,  Quebec has the world's best cycling routes:


The Route verte puts all of Quebec within reach of your handlebars!






Made up of over 4,000 km of bikeways criss-crossing the most beautiful regions of Quebec, the Route verte puts you on the right track for the vacation of your dreams. No matter which bikeway you cycle on-the Parcours des Anses in Lévis, the Véloroute des Bleuets encircling Lac Saint-Jean, the Berri Street bike path in Montreal or the Estriade in the Eastern Townships-you're riding on the Route verte.

This vast bicycle route-the most extensive in North America-includes all types of bikeways: bike paths, designated shared roadways and paved shoulders. Marked throughout its length, the route will encompass a total of 4,300 km when completed.


So this morning a motorist blew his horn at me as he passed me.  I gave him a raised arm, as if to say, "What's your problem? I'm traffic too."  I caught up to him at a light and looked at him to see what sort of imbecile he was.  Once the light changed he honked his horn at me again and flipped me the bird, which I flipped right back.  Then he stopped and cut me off on the other side of the intersection.  I stopped and got ready for this Chrysleric cretin to get out of his car and go at it mano-a-mano, or at least cyclist-to-car sloth, but the weenie sped away instead.

Sven Sven's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Then he stopped and cut me off on the other side of the intersection.

That's just plain dangerous.  I hope you pinched his license plate number.


Just the other day, a cab just started moving into the right lane where I was cycling, and more or less drove right into me. I stopped and shouted something, and the cabbie lowered his window, and looked so sad and so sorry, and apologized profusely. I just said, "It's OK. You didn't hurt me at all. But please be careful when you're pulling into the right lane." And he thanked me. What a pleasant surprise!

Sven Sven's picture

That happens a lot, drivers are simply oblivious to bikers (both the pedal and the fossil-fueled variety).  Car drivers are thinking (when they are thinking) about other cars, cuz other cars can kill them (hitting a bike generally won't result in death or the car driver).

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

I love riding my bike and weather permitting, I will go for a ride. (and weather almost always permits). I mostly stay in Hamilton and have to say that most driver's are willing to share the road and are courteous. The closest I have come to an accident occured when traffic backed up along Lawrence and some clown in a 4x4 decided to pass on the right, along the bike lane. Even he was courteous because he took the time to blow his horn repeatedly so I would get out of his way. To be fair though, agressive drivers don't go around just targeting bikes. They have no concern for anyone else on the road. I have had a lot of close calls when driving my car as well.


Sven wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Then he stopped and cut me off on the other side of the intersection.

That's just plain dangerous.  I hope you pinched his license plate number.


Nope. I wasn't using the rational part of my mind at the time.  Unfortunately my hockey brain and my cycling brain are too closely linked.


I just said, "It's OK. You didn't hurt me at all. But please be careful when you're pulling into the right lane." And he thanked me. What a pleasant surprise!


It is surprising when stuff like that happens; and it's so nice besides.


Many years ago in Holland  there was always a bike path by the fence line far from the fast country highway. Bikes don't need the weight bearing substructure of a fast highway, farmdude. I liked that vid of the German anarchy as being better than a hundred lines and rules; respect the slow and local. you tube, No Codes ON German Roads

Le T Le T's picture

Just a warning that if you take a license plate number when a car hits you YOU MUST PHONE THE POLICE WITHOUT LEAVING THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT. If you have been injured, even slightly, you must call the cops to the scene. If you phone later they could (get this, it's great) charge YOU with leaving the scene and have more evidence against you than the murderous car driver that left you for dead.



Watch that hockey mentality entruding into the tranportation game, QaBong (and others).  It's an uneven game, and while the urge to slap hoods, kick doors, yell and make gestures is understandable, even cathartic, it's probably not a good idea. 

I was cycling around the farm roads a couple years back, riding the white line on the edge of the pavement.  A car roars past really close, for no good reason considering the opposite lane was completely empty of approaching vehicles.  So I gestured towards the road beside me, knocked a fist on my helmet, and gave the driver the finger.

Red lights pop up on the back of the car.  It stops, the driver gets out and he's pissed, freakishly so.  His eyeballs are rolling around in his head and he looks like he's just finished tweaking on meth for the last week. 

He starts talking about fucking killing me and what the fuck did I think I was doing giving him the finger and how I was lucky he didn't beat me down right then.

In turn, I got pretty hot.  Then that rational part of my brain took over: next week he'll still probably be driving and I'll probably still be biking.  I can't see what's approaching behind me. 

The confrontation was scary enough, but the creepy thought that I could have a fucked up meathead lining me up in his sights was even more frightening.  So I backed down.

Turns out the driver was a regular stop-in at a local skid house, so we travel the same roads often.

In time the speed at which people drive these country roads forced me away from cycling.  Even with all the traffic in urban areas, I've always felt safer cycling in an urban setting. 

I'm going to try and dig up some youtube links to a Boston bike courier and film-maker.  His vids were wild.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Interesting article:

Safe Streets For All - Berkeley’s Bicycle Boulevards



Don't ride like this:



Yeah, you just don't know who might be behind the wheel, Farmpunk:


One of those instances where my fidelity to the cause against capital punishment in challenged.      And, you know there's more like this guy on the road, right now.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Have the toronto folks seen this: There is talk here about hiring a cop to enforce the rules.

I like bike lanes as it puts an extra sense of cyclist entitlement in the minds of some drivers but the problem of course is there isn't anyone enforcing the rules and there are those who don't care.  I've heard so many people say as an excuse for parking in the bike lane that it'll be/it was just for 2 minutes.  Imagine if I stood in the middle of the road for 2 minutes!

In general I try to avoid busy streets bike lane or not, as they tend to be more agrivating than just finding a quieter side street.  Harbourd works because there isn't as many reasons for motorists to stop there.   Given the amount of bike traffic(not to mention the potential bike traffic if more people thought it was safe) I don't think any cars should be stopping in bike lanes on college or harbourd.  Figure out a different safe way of handling the stoping functions of cars if you want cyclists to feel like they have any respect.  Montreal style lanes with curbs?  Establishing social protocols then dictate cabs turn into the nearest non-bike lane street to pick up passengers?  Really, a bike requires so little space if we can't figure out a few totally safe arteries for them to be able to get around a city on something is very wrong.

Country cycling can be fun too.  I've had some of my most enjoyable moments on a bike while riding on virtually car-free roads around ontario.  Where I lived in the haut-gaspesie was also a delight.  Huge paved shoulders plus drivers who almost always gave me lots and lots of space(However, the ride home from st.anne-des-monts to cap-chat against the inevitable wall of wind sometimes forced me to get off and walk as it could be faster)...if you're ever in the gaspesie I also highly recomend riding on the beach with the sun setting on the st.laurent the waves inching up towards your wheels (preferably after the spring thaw when the sand is compacted) and a 'spaghetti pizza' in your belly, ah bliss.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

ebodyknows wrote:

 the inevitable wall of wind sometimes forced me to get off and walk as it could be faster

Oh, I forgot to mention the sunshine coast where I also had to get off my bike and walk partly because I didn't have any mountain biking experience and partly because the beauty necessitated it.  Then sailing down the logging roads. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


I like to ride but I only ride for pleasure and neighbourhood errands as I also find that many drivers inconsiderate and/or aggressive.  I would like to see more acknowledgment that riding a bike is a positive contribution to a healthy society.

As a driver I have seen rude and dangerous bike riders, one day as I turned off a major avenue onto a side street, having first checked that no pedestrians were about to be stepping into the street I started to turn and suddenly a bike came flying down the sidewalk and into where I was turning, I honked my horn and instead of acknowledging that his stupidity had nearly caused an accident I received the finger. LOL  This is not the only time I have encountered bike riders who seem to think that they are excempt from any rules.

It seems to me that, as with many things in life, most people are playing by the rules but the few who don't make it difficult for everyone.




I disagree with the "vehicular cycling" ideology. Of course we are entitled to all roads except limited access highways, but the countries where cycling rates are highest have dedicated bicycle lanes, at least in major cities and alongside major arteries. I frequently travel to Amsterdam (no, I don't pay for the trips) and have observed people of all ages from children to very elderly people cycling, in normal clothing for whatever weather it happens to be. And even through the rather hard winter this year, in Copenhagen cycling rates remained high. See:

Vehicular cyclng advocates say cyclists should stay apace of the traffic flow: fine if you can do that, but not all of us are capable of that (especially after a certain age, carrying children or heavy loads etc). It tends to encourage a disproportion of male, and fairly young cyclists.

I've been an urban-ecologist cycling advocate for decades, was a member of Le Monde a bicyclette which spearheaded the building of our bicycle lane infrastructure here and, alongside the more moderate Vélo Québec, what would eventually become La Route verte. We still have a website - it is mostly an archive of our various struggles but also has some constantly updated new content.

I don't usually ride through the winter, but this past winter was so mild that I scarcely stopped at all.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

lagatta wrote:

I disagree with the "vehicular cycling" ideology.

There is a very detailed podcast/slideshow on rabble that explains this sentiment for those looking for further explanation.

lagatta wrote:

I've been an urban-ecologist cycling advocate for decades, was a member of Le Monde a bicyclette which spearheaded the building of our bicycle lane infrastructure here and, alongside the more moderate Vélo Québec, what would eventually become La Route verte.

Thank you!



Copenhagen was car-clogged a half century ago, shocked into a fresh vision by the 1970s energy crisis and recession. Urban planners in Copenhagen have installed more than 200 miles of bicycle lanes. Stockholm says it has built more than 460 miles. In these cities, as well as Bremen, bike lanes either share large, wide sidewalks with pedestrians or are separate, dedicated tracks adjacent to sidewalks. Today, the city of Copenhagen says 37 percent of work and school commutes are done by bike. Stockholm says 150,000 of its 810,000 residents bike regularly to work.

This is unlike Boston and Cambridge, where lanes are painted on streets almost as a dare, sandwiching cyclists in between traffic on the left and parked cars on the right, where doors can swing open at any moment. Only the most nimble or fearless of cyclists use them at rush hour. The lanes are a largely vacant symbol of why less than 1 percent of commutes in the United States are done by bike, according to the Census.

That is why the latest auto news is so dull. Instead of throwing billions at uninspired car companies, cities should be reconstructed so that you will want to leave the car in the garage. The real headline is when grandma feels safe to pedal down the street to see her grandkids.

Wheel Dividends: Europe's Clues to Breaking Car Dependence

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Oh yeah, the Danes know how to bike to work. Too bad their beer is 10$ a glass.

This is Cycle Chic.


One thing I like about those "cycle chic" images is that they show regular people riding regular bikes.  There aren't any shots of spandex-encrusted helmet heads riding composite-frame mountain racing machinery.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Exactly. If lagatta were around, she'd tell us that cycling is transportation, not a sport. If cycling weren't so marginalized there'd be no need for helmets or fluorescent stripes most people feel they need just not to get run over riding in the street to which they are entitled.

Of course, I also blame Mountain Equipment Co-op.

In a perfect cycling world we'd all be wearing sunglasses, red kerchiefs, Picasso shirts, navy skirts and yellow shoes while we bike to work with our handbags (or our six packs) in our panniers.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

you do know that site has inspired home grown versions right? Sadly no picasso shirts but we got wings:

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

love it!


I just posted that picture on the bulletin board at work.  Thanks.


Cycling for Life



It's National Bike Month, and I'm thinking about my dad. He's 82 and still riding. In fact, he's still riding the same 3-speed Schwinn bicycle that he purchased, used, from a student soon after he began his teaching career at a small college in Wisconsin about 50 years ago. We lived just 6 blocks from his office on campus, so he walked to work if there was snow or rain, but otherwise, he preferred to bike because it was faster and easier to carry his satchel of books and files in his big wire baskets. In the years since he retired, he's continued to bike all around town to do his local business, becoming a loved and familiar figure on that classic Schwinn.


"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H. G. Wells


Cyclist's video showcases dangerous drivers



Using a tiny camera, which captured pretty much what Rae saw during his journeys around the city, Rae collected a series of close calls, including a harrowing moment when a car jumped into an intersection and nearly smashed into Rae and his bike.

On another occasion, a driver in a truck hit the gas and ran Rae off the road.

"You get drivers doing the most outrageous stuff," said Rae, adding that some errant drivers are not only unapologetic, but also arrogant with their views about the place of cyclists.


ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

enough to turn a level headed cyclist into a crazed bitter outcast.  It's a wonder how most cyclists I know have managed to maintain such a sweet, laidback and peaceful attitude.

dandmb50 dandmb50's picture

The bottom line, bikes are here to stay and everyday I see more people riding into the city core. Bike lanes, is a good start but we have moved beyond that and what is needed are "Protected bike lanes" like they have around the world and in New York City.

protected bike lanes NYC

As you can see in the above picture they are separated lanes with small poles keeping cars from encroching on the bike lane. I think it is an excellent idea and was hoping it would be on the new University Ave bike project, but that has been abandoned. (Do to a vote irregularity)

I see it everyday, cars blocking bike lanes and the frustration of bikers yelling at them to stay out of their lanes.

I think it is the next progression and we must move in that direction. Hopefully it will be proposed for the new expansion of bike lanes on Jarvis Street which doesn't seem to be a bad idea.

But in any case, it's a start.

The other major problem our city is facing is the increase in these "Electric bikes", which do not need insurance or a licence for the bike or the driver. What's going to happen when one of these is involved with a car or truck? I think they are very cool but they are an accident just waiting to happen. 


Electric bikes/scooters



Daniel ... Toronto

Get my take on biking in the big city. < ----- Click here.


Lagatta has shown up. I have a terrible time with babble from my home computer - I keep getting logged off for godknowswhy. Great initiatives.But I had to check on demos and other initiatives to support the flotilla for Gaza and speak out against IDF brutality.

Catchfire, of course cycling is also a sport, and I'll be glad to cheer on the gals at the stages here of the Women's cycling world cup - they always do étapes and time trials in and about Montréal. But workaday cycling for people of all ages is transport - and fun. And doesn't require special clothing except what you need to protect yourself from the elements.

We have several protected cycle lanes here.



Hey, missed you lagatta.   Good to see you.


But workaday cycling for people of all ages is transport - and fun. And doesn't require special clothing except what you need to protect yourself from the elements.

Yeah, well, I'm getting sick up and fed with wearing rain(ish) gear every day...then waiting half a day to dry out once I get to work.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

What are you saying al?  you want a roof on your bike?



You are from the Prairies and worried about RAIN?

I bought a bicycle-raincape in Amsterdam. It always rains there. Never as cold as Saskatchewan gets, though.

Yes, Tommy, I miss you too. I just have such a hard time posting on babble at home  - I'm posting from a library computer  today.


I'm not worried about rain, I'm being soaked by rain.  I heard on the news a couple of days ago that they want to declare the area around Foam Lake an agricultural disaster area because rain has prevented the farmers from putting the crop in.  Farmers should be thinking about spraying now, instead of waiting to get onto the field to seed.

The sun's out finally this morning.  Maybe I'll be able to put in some more of the garden later today.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Friend and housemate was hit by a car yesterday after her first day as a yoga instructor and is having surgery on her elbow today.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Oh no, ebody. I'm so sorry for your friend. I hope she recovers well.


ebody, so sorry to hear that. The fact that she does and teaches yoga will help her with the exercises she'll need to do to regain the mobility in her elbow.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Catchfire wrote:

This Bendable Bike Can Tie Itself to a Lamp Post

Oh good, my chance to enlighten Catchfire on the true nature of a quibble. The bendable bike does not tie itself to a lamp post, it requires an outside actor (like the guy with the cool coloured shoes) to bend and tie it to the lamp post. This observation is a quibble, that other thing wasn't a quibble.



Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Were you offended by my usage of the word quibble, bagkitty? You shouldn't be, by calling your comment a quibble I wasn't minimizing or belittling it in any way. I'm sorry if you were hurt--that wasn't the spirit in which I responded.

At any rate, your new quibble is with the editor of the linked website: it's their headline, not mine.


I am both cyclist and auto driver (more auto these days, since we have kids and it doubles as a delivery van).

When I lived in Vancouver I pretty much gave up bike riding in some areas - because of smog and fear for my life -  and instead walked and took transit.

I only have one major complaint about some cyclists - those who drive the wrong way down major thoroughfares (residential - I don't care). I have just about killed several while making right turns into traffic, and twice almost got scissored in two after parking and opening my door to see a bike coming the wrong way straight at me.

Yes auto drivers have the bigger vehicle and a lot of them are lunatics. But we don't have eyes in the back of our heads. Do the math - checking four directions for oncoming vehicles (including behind you for any bikes that might be coming alongside and may or may not stop). Then there are eight additional spots to check - both directions on all sidewalks - usually I look for people walking, but you never know when some cyclist will be coming through at high speed, sometimes from behind the corner of a building.

Then add to that the four direcions that you ordinarily would not check - someone biking the wrong way in an oncoming lane. Again, I don't want this to sound like I am putting all the onus on the cyclists, but it is impossible for someone to safely keep his or her eyes on 16 separate lanes in all directions for high-speed traffic. 

Not to take responsibility away from auto drivers , but cyclists ignore the rules of the road at their own peril, IMO - especially those who bike the wrong way in heavy traffic.

Actually last week some cyclist got hit running a red light while impaired in Regina. I know he got charged for the traffic violation. I don't know if he got a DUI charge as well.


I heard a guy on a bike got hit while crossing 22nd at Avenue P this week.  I was there on my bike just this morning.

I've cycled while pissed.  Mind you, I avoided any roads with traffic, and stuck to back alleys wherever possible.   It was interesting to go back the next day and check out my tyre tracks.

The roads are lousy with people on bikes (I wouldn't call them cyclists)  these days.  That's OK, because I know I'll be one of the few out there in January.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

My friend was hit by a taxi trying to pass her from behind.  She's a pretty chilled out cyclist that never really goes very fast...maybe that why the driver was so impatient to pass her?  A pedestrian had to stop the taxi as it seemed it was just going to continue driving around her.

lots of people with similar stories have been giving her advice, including another yoga teacher who had the same elbow injury who did manage to regain full movement of the elbow again.

She's also often gets asked if she will ride again to which she replies yes to the shock of many. While I love her determination not to let fear rule her there is no reason why people should even have to confront this kind of fear.


About an hour ago I saw someone on a bike riding down the middle of the lane, not allowing the car behind to pass.  The girl on the bike finally wandered enough to the left to give the guy in the car room to pass her on the right.

She then turned her bike left at the intersection and rode onto the sidewalk adjacent to the oncoming lane.  Typically, this bonehead wears a bike helmet.  The worst riders tend to do this, in the apparent belief that a dense plastic shell on the outside of a cranium compensates for the denseness within.

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Perhaps it's not good to make generalizations from a few particular incidents but at the risk that I might misinterpret what you're intending to say Al let me ask you to clarify what you're intending to promote in your last few posts:

Cycling drunk in alleys?

Without a helmet?

That people who are not blessed with your level of intellegence should stick to driving?

That cyclists should not own the lane when they see fit?

I agree there may be some problems with the description of the left hand turn to described but I'm curious to know, what is the the al-qa'bong method for turning?


Topic locked