Unsurprisingly, barrelling down Douglas Street on a bicycle with a double-decker transit bus on your tail isn’t a comfortable situation for most cyclists.
That’s why some Victoria cyclists support re-evaluating the shared use designation of new priority lanes on Douglas Street.
Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition (GVCC) would be happy to see bus and bike lanes separated on the road – one of Victoria’s main arteries.
“From our perspective, the lanes installed were really a compromise design, ” Burger said.
He said he understands city design is a process but said for most cyclists, Douglas Street is “not a fun road to ride on.”
“You do feel the pressure to ride a bit faster because you know you are slowing down people,” he said. “Or a good cyclist can travel the same distance as a bus, so you end up in this ‘leap-frogging’ situation.”
Burger has heard suggestions for cyclists to use Blanchard instead of Douglas Street but said Douglas is a main route for many – including cyclists.
“People use Douglas because that’s where they’re going [or] it’s the best way to get where they’re going. Our streets are for everybody and they should be the best possible streets for everybody.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, the union representing Greater Victoria’s BC Transit drivers told Black Press that bus drivers aren’t sold on the shared lanes.
“The problem when you add the cyclists in there is the bus is only as fast as the cyclist,” said Ben Williams, president of Unifor Local 333 BC. “You used to have a bike lane beside the right-hand lane [and] that’s not the case anymore – now the cyclist needs to ride right in front of the bus.”
In a statement, BC Transit said it has received feedback while people adjust to the new lanes.
“We are pleased with the contributions the bus lanes are making to improve the traffic flow and movement of people along the Douglas corridor,” it stated. “We will continue to monitor and see how we can work together with our partners to make the bus lanes the most efficient. Safety remains a top priority for BC Transit and our operators are trained to drive effectively in these situations.”