Media Release #3 – Better Bike Lanes Improve Street Safety and Reduce Traffic Congestion

Media Release
November 27th, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BETTER BIKE LANES IMPROVE SAFETY AND REDUCE CONGESTION

“Study after study has shown that separated bike lanes benefit all users of our streets – those who choose to cycle, drive, or walk”, says Sean Shaw, Saskatoon Cycles Board member and Better Bike Lanes Coordinator.

“In Montreal, the installation of a separated bike lane along a downtown street led to a 21% reduction in injuries to all street users and nearly eliminated cyclists riding on sidewalks” outlines Shaw.

While separated bike lanes are not a good fit for all roads in Saskatoon, several Canadian studies have shown that in areas of higher traffic and traffic speeds, like our downtown streets, better bike lanes encourage more commuters to choose two wheels.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that separation from motor vehicle traffic was one of the most important motivators for commuters to choose to cycle on a regular basis. Montreal, which has over 70 km of separated bike lanes, has seen a 40% increase in those choosing to cycle since 2008.

“While limited, the research on separated bike lanes has definitively shown the positive impacts on cities that build them” indicates Shaw. “Separated bike lanes provide an added layer of protection and increase the perception of safety, not only for those already choosing to cycle, but for those unsure about cycling in traffic”.

“While the goal of Better Bike Lanes is to make it safer for those who choose to cycle, ultimately, the success of separated lanes will be our ability as a city to make cycling an attractive daily option to those not currently doing so” remarks Shaw.  “Researchers have shown that a 1% increase in the number of commuters choosing to cycle decreases traffic congestion by approximately 15%, that is a huge amount of traffic relief for minimal investment compared to the cost of building more roads” Shaw continues.

The City Centre Plan calls specifically for separated bike lanes on a number of downtown streets, including 24th St and City Administration recently set a goal of shifting our transportation mode share from 85% to 70% motor vehicle traffic.

“The separated lanes proposed for 24th St and 4th Ave by the Better Bike Lanes project are a great starting point to achieving these goals and making our downtown an even more desirable and liveable part of our growing city” exclaims Shaw.

Saskatoon Cycles’ Better Bike Lanes project has secured over 1,600 supporters since its launch six weeks ago, a number that is growing on a daily basis.  For more information on separated bike lanes and their positive impacts on cities, please check out the website – www.betterbikelanes.ca.

For further questions or to set up an interview, please contact:

Sean Shaw
Better Bike Lanes Coordinator
betterbikelanes_at_saskatooncycles.org
www.betterbikelanes.ca