Weird intersection, Drake Street and Burrard Street, Vancouver

Drake Street and Burrard Street in Vancouver.


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Riding into an intersection on the left side of the street has been shown again and again to be highly hazardous. Bicyclists are supposed to stop at the stop sign, which is set back from the intersection, but then they accelerate before reaching the intersection. Motorists waiting to turn right are looking ahead for left-turning traffic, even in Canada which does not have legal right turn on red.

5 Responses to Weird intersection, Drake Street and Burrard Street, Vancouver

  1. Roberta Franchuk

    Just a quibble, John – most of Canada, including B.C., does indeed allow right turns on red.

  2. An additional hazard to consider when starting out from that set back stop line is that a cyclist is somewhat screened by all the visual clutter, including that pedestrian crossing the street and taking the motorists attention. An advanced bicycle stop line coupled with a bulbout to slow motorists making the right might help, but these are not present. Hence my problem with these designs–they introduce additional hazards without any attempt to mitigate them. For this and other reasons, some of these designs require more training for cyclists, not less.

  3. Indeed the Drake street bikeway is weird and badly made. It’s not the worst in Vancouver, but there are also many examples of better-implemented bike infrastructure (e.g. Hornby which crosses Drake near your streetview). As John often points out: cyclists should ride with skill, but I think we should expect city engineers and designers should also implement infrastructure with skill. It’s not a failure of bike-specific infrastructure as a concept, but it is failure in this instance.

    As Roberta said, we do have legal right turns on red (after coming to a complete stop – which no one does) in B.C. Oddly enough, Quebec used to not have such things, but actually legalized right turns on red within the last 10 years.

  4. Responding to Jean-Francois, one of the reasons I have offered to go back on the County Transportation Board is to, in addition to once again making my pitch for integrating land use, transportation, and sustainability into a single process, but to make sure someone working with the County Public Works folks has direct insight into how these facilities work for real cyclists. An example of how good intentions can get goofed up is in this thread:

    http://labikes.blogspot.com/2011/09/beware-right-hook.html
    with this resolution
    http://labikes.blogspot.com/2011/11/los-alamos-gets-sharrows-and-other.html

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