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How close is Metro Vancouver to having ‘cycle highways’?

How close is Metro Vancouver to having 'cycle highways'?

A cyclist rides on a designated bike path in Vancouver. The city has more than 600 kilometres of bike routes, but none that HUB, a…

Saturday, Jun 04

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A cyclist rides on a designated bike path in Vancouver. The city has more than 600 kilometres of bike routes, but none that HUB, a Vancouver cycling advocacy group, would call a ‘cycle highway.’ (Ben Nelms/CBC) The idea of ‘cycle highways’ isn’t exactly new — they exist in parts of Europe and elsewhere — but according to HUB, a bicycle advocacy group, you can’t call what Metro Vancouver currently has cycle highways.

"Cycle highways are the highest quality bicycle facilities that are long-distance," said Evan Hammer, cycle highway project manager with HUB.

They’re basically like motor vehicle highways, says Hammer — except much less expensive, well-branded, paved, well-lit, easy to follow, don’t require stops, and possible to use year-round.

He says routes need to be longer than five kilometres and connect different municipalities as well as places lots of people work, live, shop, attend universities, and access transit hubs.

This week, the group released a report featuring proposed next steps for implementing cycle highways in the region.

Metro Vancouver already has extensive bicycle routes. A 2020 study by HUB and TransLink found that in 2019, there were 4,595 kilometres of designated bicycle paths in the region.

According to Hammer, the routes do a reasonable job of connecting the region, but there are significant gaps — and more importantly, many of the routes aren’t considered comfortable to use by most cyclists, generally meaning cyclists are not protected from motor vehicles.In fact, just 46 per cent of the designated routes were considered comfortable to most cyclists at […]

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