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Pedaling Towards a Bike Friendly Kingston

bike safety, bike lanes, Kingston, OntarioThe City of Kingston has been working hard to reach specific sustainability goals over the last decade. Many of the actions taken to get us there have involved making changes to make Kingston a more bike friendly city. In the last few years, we have seen the addition of new bike lanes in various parts of the city as well as sharrows and signs reminding us to share the road. The next big bike related project is the construction of a 2.1 km asphalt bikeway in the right-of-way along Bath Road from Collins Creek to Coverdale Drive that will connect two sections of the Waterfront Trail. While we can all agree that the changes haven’t been perfect, Kingston had been recognized for its efforts. In 2012 we won the Bike-Friendly Community Bronze recognition from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition for investing in cycling infrastructure, and we have consistently ranked high in the friendly competition that is The Commuter Challenge.

All this being said, we still have a ways to go when it comes to compatibility between drivers and cyclists. Some drivers still need to understand some of the rules that are necessary in an old city such as ours where narrow roads and existing infrastructure require sharrows, which indicate that no one should pass in these areas. There are still a number of drivers who park or pull over into bike lanes as well, forcing cyclists to dodge around them. Some cyclists on the other hand could stand to be reminded that they should ride on the right hand side of the road and follow other basic rules such as going the correct way down a one way street, not riding on the sidewalk, signaling turns and wearing a light at night.

bike counter, cycling, bike safety, Kingston, OntarioAfter recent visits to both Ottawa and Montreal, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the work these older cities have done to help cyclists and drivers live in harmony. Dedicated bike paths and separated bike lanes give cyclists a sense of real security. These lanes and the wide coverage of Bixi bikes throughout the city encourage people to ride more often. Montreal goes so far as to keep count of how many cyclists go by daily in some areas. I was amazed to see that by 2:40pm over 1500 bikes had passed this counter, and over 200,000 so far this year.

There is also the new law requiring drivers to keep a meter between themselves and a cyclist when passing. This idea has been met with some contention but is certainly opening up the conversation about bike safety.

Knowing that we still have room for improvement, this week’s poll asks:

What does Kingston need to do to continue on its path to being bike friendly?

  • Dedicated/separated bike lanes (77%, 272 Votes)
  • Better enforcement of laws (11%, 40 Votes)
  • More education (8%, 28 Votes)
  • Bike sharing (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Something else (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 352

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So, what do you think? Are we doing a good enough job in Kingston? What other things could we be doing to make our city more bike friendly? Are you a driver, a cyclist or both? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Thanks to Paul Krueger for today’s photo.

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Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

2 thoughts on “Pedaling Towards a Bike Friendly Kingston

  • July 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    Kingston seems to be well behind most other cities with any kind of enforcement effort. After watching the debate on red light cameras, ignoring the police in favour of lobbying by a few car drivers who don't want tickets, there is no hope of positive change with the present council in place.

    I like the app Guelph has to report illegal parking (and other things), which also allows one to see what others have reported and if the city ever responded http://guelph.ca/2015/11/report-a-problem-with-th… . They claim it saves them more then the low cost to implement it. Compared to here if you are riding/walking along and see an illegally parked car, you can phone, navigate their phone system to by-law..and get voice mail to leave your message. It sees like a waste of time to bother.

    With fines being low here – park in a bike lane is $20 vs $150 in Toronto, and enforement almost non exstant, there is a better risk/reward to park in a bike lane then to pay to park somewhere properly or be inconvenienced being further away

  • August 14, 2016 at 8:24 pm
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    Remove all parking west of Barrie on King Street so that cars and bikes cam avoid each other. Use the parking lota and parking garage at queens. Keep in mind that that section of road is 50 Kph, not 20. Finally no left turns eastbound on this section from Barrie to Sir John A. when you are eastbound between 8-10 am and 3-6 p.m. B. Jeffs Pedestrian/driver/cyclist.

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