June is Bike Month in Vancouver! The Bike Month schedule offers over 50 fun and educational events throughout the region including group rides, children’s safety workshops, films, bike way grand openings and festivals for people of all ages and abilities. This is great news for those of us who already ride quite often, but our mostly unfamiliar with the city’s bike routes because there will be more organized events and more street closures, which we love. With the amount of traffic that we have seen lately on the Seawall and in Stanley Park it is hard to imagine any more bikes in these already crowded spaces.
The official kick off event will take place on Saturday, June 6th from 9 am to 12 noon at the Vancouver Racquet’s Club, 4867 Ontario Street (at 33rd Avenue). Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the city’s newest routes, go for a guided ride, visit the Bike Doctor for a bike repair or diagnosis, or pick up a new bike map. While we do not plan to attend this event there are several other events on the schedule that are of interest to us. On June 7th the Vancouver Art Gallery lawn will hold the first green-hybrid powered Energy Awareness Art Party and on June 14th the annual Car Free Day will take place in four downtown areas – Commercial Drive, Main Street, Denman Street and various Kitsilano blocks. On June 18th the Vancouver Museum will host a debate entitled “Does Vancouver really want to be a cycling City”. But the event that we are looking forward to the most is the Giant Critical Mass Ride set to leave the Vancouver Art Gallery at 6:00 PM on Friday June 26th. We have been meaning and wanting to attend one of these rides for a while but it has never seemed o work into our schedule. With this being the biggest on the monthly events each year it seems like a great opportunity to give it a try.
In other biking news, on May 7th, Vancouver City Council approved a lane reallocation trial for the Burrard Bridge. The bridge currently has six lanes (each three metres wide), three northbound lanes and three southbound lanes. Sidewalks on the bridge are 2.6 metres wide and are shared by both cyclists and pedestrians. And those of you who have walked or rode over the bridge know that this 2.6 meters is much too narrow to accommodate the current traffic levels. During the trial one southbound lane of the bridge will be converted to a southbound bike-only lane. The West sidewalk will be used for pedestrians only and the East sidewalk will be for northbound cyclists only. The lane reconfiguration will involve: physical barriers to separate road-level bicycle lane(s) from traffic, traffic signal modifications, transit priority measures to minimize impacts on transit, a monitoring program to assess impacts and flow levels and a communications program to provide public information and encourage alternative transportation choices. While not officially a part of Bike month this trial will take place sometime in the summer of 2009. Since we really enjoy a ride to Granville Island for the occasional lunch and the bridge is a much quicker route than going all the way around we will definitely ride over during the trial and post our opinion of the changes.
To view a full listing of all Bike Month events visit the website.