Opinion: Vancouver doesn’t need more bike lanes

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Bike lanes cause controversy in Vancouver
Bike lanes cause controversy in Vancouver

As much as Vancouver is encouraging residents to ride their bike to work instead of driving, bike lanes are causing more problems than solutions.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, residents are encouraged to bike to work during the annual Bike to Work Week. Elsewhere in the city, the Vancouver Park Board recently approved a controversial proposal to build a $2.2-million paved bike lane through Kitsilano Beach Park.

It is nice to see the city encouraging south Vancouver residents to live healthier, more active lifestyles, but the idea of creating more bike lanes is preposterous.

Don’t get me wrong, cycling is a great way to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and keep people fit, but the problem arises when bike lanes disrupt current lifestyle.

For example, some local businesses have claimed that the placement of bike lanes affects their bottom-line.

According to News 1130, shops along West 4th say they will lose business because bike lanes will cause congestion along the streets, forcing shoppers to go elsewhere. Some shops are even considering relocating.

Businesses along Hornby and Dunsmuir streets said they lost an estimated $2.4 million in 2011 since the separated bike lanes were added in 2010.

Bike to Work Week

Businesses aren’t the only ones calling bike lanes into question.

Lower Mainland resident Margaret Zibbin wrote to the Vancouver Park Board about benches in Hadden Park that will be removed to make room for the Kitsilano Beach Park bike lanes.

One of the benches was dedicated to Zibbin’s late-husband, The Province reported.

Despite causing problems for some businesses, bike lanes do have some benefits.

They offer more safety for cyclists, promote a healthy lifestyle and work towards achieving Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

However, bike lanes should not interrupt people’s everyday activities nor should the city sacrifice local businesses for the benefit and convenience of a minority who use bike lanes.

So, does Vancouver really need more bike lanes? Not any more than it needs rain and yoga pants.

Reported by Kendra Wong

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  1. Leilani Reum says

    The author notes that by putting in new bike lanes we would “disrupt daily lifestyles.” Many people ride bikes daily and bike lanes encourage safe transportation routes for these people. For one, this is their daily lifestyle. Secondly, maybe we shouldn’t look to what has been done and follow it closely especially when we aren’t exactly doing the environment and each other justice in our current practices. Maybe “daily lifestyles” should be disrupted to change the way that we live and commute.
    On another note, our transit system is often packed and many cannot afford cars to get from a to b. Biking is the only option for some people. Cars are expensive and contribute to environmental degradation. It is also safer to have bikes all over the road (and especially in bike lanes) than people driving cars.
    Change is good but we don;t have to change the past. We can move important monuments like the bench to new locations, they don’t have to be removed. Why are we only trying to protect businesses and the elite who drive cars. Maybe businesses can work toward appealing to a different type of consumer. There is another way that can benefit everyone and bike lanes are steps to a healthier, more productive, and fair way of commuting. The minority of bicyclists can move toward a majority. I can only believe that more people will move toward biking if they had more opportunity and safer routes to take.

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