February 13, 2015
The Honourable Wayne Drysdale, M.L.A.,
Minister of Transportation
324 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Canada T5K 2B6
submitted via email and by letter
Re: Provincial Traffic Safety Act Regulations
The Edmonton Bike Coalition is a group of Edmontonians that advocates for better bicycle infrastructure within the city limits. In just over a month last year, over 1100 Edmontonians submitted pictures of themselves to show their support for better, safer infrastructure during our “I Bike” campaign. As a group representing a large constituency of people who want safer, more comfortable urban biking, we offer our feedback to the provincial Traffic Safety Act Regulations.
The Act as it currently stands puts people on bicycles in a very difficult position. It treats them exclusively as if they are motor vehicles, when in fact they are very vulnerable road users. Edmonton is increasingly acknowledging this fact, having recently shifted its focus to the installation of only high quality bike infrastructure.
In Edmonton, shared-use paths (off-road paths open to pedestrians and cyclists) are a critical part of a network of high-quality bike routes, and an important aspect in the creation of such a network is the existence of “crossride” intersections. Currently it is illegal for someone to ride a bicycle from one shared-use past to another across an intersection. Instead, when a shared-use path crosses a street, cyclists are expected to dismount and walk their bikes across. This is neither necessary nor realistic (the majority of cyclists will ride across, regardless of the law).
A few intersections in need of crossride allowances already exist in Edmonton. The most utilized is probably the intersection between 109 and 110 streets, on 100 Avenue. Here is a Google Street View image:
Pedestrian-only intersection on a shared-use path, Edmonton
During the summer months, 1000+ cycling trips/day are taken on the shared-use path that crosses 100 Avenue. However, one can only lawfully cross it as a pedestrian. This makes cycling inconvenient. More importantly, most people on bikes will not dismount and cross because they feel safe riding across. This puts them at odds with the law, and increases the potential for vehicle/cyclist conflict.
A crossride treatment of the intersection would look something like this:
“Crossride” intersection example, accommodating both cyclists and pedestrians
Several intersections in Edmonton already need such treatments, and more are to come as Edmonton builds out its network of high-quality bike routes.
Please give our municipalities the tools to keep people on bikes safe, and to help encourage people to ride bikes instead of contributing to congestion. We encourage you to allow for crossride intersections in the Traffic Safety Act Regulations.
Finally, we also provide our enthusiastic support for a Bike Calgary suggestion from its Feb 5, 2015 correspondence with you. It recommended the creation of a comprehensive document that would “provide design and operational guidance so that bicycle infrastructure is safely and effectively integrated into the road network” (like British Columbia’s Bicycle Facility Design Course Manual and Ontario’s Ontario Traffic Manual Book 18). Such a document would be invaluable to municipalities trying to accommodate this increasing modal share.
Getting people on bikes reduces traffic congestion, preserves traffic infrastructure and increases population health. Please support these positive outcomes in the revised Traffic Safety Act Regulations.
Conrad Nobert, Edmonton Bike Coalition
City of Calgary Bicycle Program ℅ Thomas Thivener, Bicycle Coordinator
Alberta Bicycle Association
Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society
Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting ℅ John Johnston
Bikebridge Cycling Association
City of Edmonton Sustainable Transportation, Audra Jones, Director