New Vancouver bike lanes are confusing and dangerous

British Columbia bicyclists rely on safely marked bike lanes so that both they and motor vehicle drivers can understand them, stay organized in traffic and avoid being in an accident. However, the City of Vancouver recently upgraded its bike paths in a way that is confusing drivers and putting bicyclists at risk.

One experienced Vancouver bicyclist says that he watched the new lanes being installed along Smithe Street several months ago. He said that the main effect of the new bicycle lanes was to funnel cyclists into what he is referring to as a "danger zone." The dangerous problem happens when the bike lane, which is separate from the vehicle lane, suddenly merges into a lane that is assigned for drivers to use when making right turns. This happens halfway up each block that the lane is merged with the right-hand turn lane for drivers.

The end result has been confusion for both drivers and bicyclists. One critic says that he avoids the new bike lanes because he finds them completely terrifying. Each time he has used the new lanes, he needed to ride into traffic to avoid a driver who needed to make a right turn.

When a motor vehicle vs. bicycle crash happens, police will arrive to assess the crash scene and determine whether the bicyclist or the motorist was at fault. However, individuals involved in these kinds of accidents should remember that another party could be at fault -- the city that designed the road. If it is shown in court that the city was negligent in creating a dangerous design that endangered both cyclists and motorists, then injured accident victims may be able to hold the city financially liable for their injuries.

Source: CBC News, "'It's completely terrifying': new bike lane called 'danger zone'," Rafferty Baker, Aug. 30, 2016

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