Vancity Buzz Essay

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Mythbusters: Bike Vancouver Edition
10:00 AM PST, TUE FEBRUARY 24, 2015
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<img width="900" height="500" src="" class="attachment-am2-featured-image-large wp-post-image" alt="0. Cover" />
Image: Submitted by Chris & Melissa Bruntlettmore
As Vancouverites enjoy an unseasonably mild and pleasant February, it becomes increasingly apparent that spring is just around the corner, meaning many memorable days of riding our bikes in the sunshine. It also means an annual resurgence of cyclists on our city streets, but for all of those additional riders, we speak to plenty of friends and acquaintances that – for various reasons – continue to avoid two-wheeled travel. Some physical barriers are perfectly valid, but many times we find the common excuses are more centred around psychological ones. So, in the lead up to warmer days, we thought we’d tackle some of these “myths”, proving that biking in Vancouver can be fun and easy for anyone and everyone.
1. “Riding a bicycle is far too dangerous.”

First, let’s tackle the most common barrier: safety. While riding on streets can mean sharing space with large, fast-moving vehicles, under the right conditions, cycling can actually be incredibly safe and enjoyable. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t do so daily with our two children. In fact, riding a bike is often safer than walking ((Trip-by-trip and km-by-km, there are more pedestrian fatalities in BC than cycling ones). We cannot overemphasize the importance of route selection, always choosing one of the many traffic-calmed bikeways, and/or the several kilometres of protected bike lanes. We ride in a manner that makes us visible to other road users, always following traffic signals, and – when it’s needed – we take things a little slower. As a result, our family has cycled thousands of kilometres throughout this city without a single collision or injury, and riding a bike has become an unremarkable part of our everyday routine.
2. “Bikes are the slowest way to get from A to B.”

This is one of those myths we manage to bust almost every time we sit on our saddles. In fact, unless you’re travelling from the furthest reaches of East Van to U.B.C., we’ve often found riding our bikes will get us to our destination faster than any combination of transit, especially in rush hour. Every day, Chris travels from our home at Commercial and Broadway to his office at Granville and Broadway, nine times out of ten choosing to ride instead of braving the 99 B-Line. The commute on two wheels takes just shy of 25-minutes, travelling at a slow, leisurely pace. On those rare occasions he opts for transit, the trip takes at least that long, and that if he is able to get on the bus as soon as he arrives at the station. Similarly, we frequently ride to Granville Island with our kids, the trip taking about 30-minutes with the glorious seawall as our backdrop. Making that trip by car involves the likelihood of getting stuck in traffic, and then the painful search for parking once arriving there.
Since 2009, HUB has been running the “Share the Road Challenge”, pitting travellers in cars, transit and on bikes to see which mode is more efficient. The event takes place during rush hour, and historically those travelling by bicycle have arrived first 75% of the time. More than any anecdotal evidence