I am going to lose friends for saying this but I never ride the Laurier Bike Lane. I hate it.
Along the blocks I feel like I’m trapped in a tube from which there is no egress, meanwhile, pedestrians, crafty drivers and anyone or anything who can dodge the bollards can dart in and out with or without looking.?With or without warning.
And at the corners it’s open season. Cars, buses and trucks can turn this way and that in front, behind or over top of the “put your bike here” patches of green painted on the asphalt presumably as some sort of sacred circle designed to protect us from demons or evil spirits.
Getting a bike lane was a long slog
It was a long slog getting the thing approved and built. Studies created. Councillors lobbied, staff briefed. A ton of work. And I’m sure that at every stage of the way the bike haters and the detractors chipped away at it, first moving the lane idea to Laurier and away from I think Somerset?where planners had wanted it so that it might actually go west.
And by the time everyone had taken their shot at it, it staggered, punch drunk, bleeding, missing limbs down the wrong street into existence.
Despite all these shortcomings, it’s still the darling of the Ottawa urban biking community because it is a victory over the car-centric world we live in. And flawed as it is, we must all hail its existence and use it cheerfully to keep the numbers up and prove that people will use cycling infrastructure.
I know I am not a typical cyclist, but if I have to be on busy, car-filled streets I feel safer when my path is not constrained and I can, if need be, take a lane, speed up or squidge over to avoid another rider, a pedestrian, an over-reaching heap of garbage or whatever else.
The Laurier Bike Lane offers restricted movement for cyclists, limited protection from cars and total chaos at intersections where, as we saw with today’s tragedy, we most need safety.