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Bikes, Lanes and the Thorny Subject of Pedestrian Safety

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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Bike lanes have been back in the news recently after the Vancouver Park Board withdrew its plan to construct a $2.2-million bike path in Kitsilano Beach Park.

The plan, which would have seen a 4,500 square foot asphalt divide cut through one of Vancouver’s most scenic spots; had courted controversy amongst the local community and the decision to scrap the scheme is a big win for the activists who opposed it. It’s also a big win for pedestrian safety.

Think about it this way.

The Kits Park proposal essentially involved tossing a bike lane right in the middle of a public park. That’s all well and good until you remember that our parks are full of people running, families enjoying picnics and children playing. In short they’re crammed full of potential hazards and by cutting a swathe of concrete through that, the parks board were creating a recipe for disaster.

Let me ask you this.

What happens when a cyclist collides with a runner who’s taking a shortcut across the park? What would have happened if a kid runs right across the path of a mountain bike that’s whizzing through the park? And what’s the outcome when a student flies across the lane to catch a Frisbee and gets nailed by a guy riding a $5000 bike?

From a pedestrian safety perspective, running a bike lane through a busy family park was a stupid idea. It could and probably would, have seen a number of pedestrians left injured with no way of claiming compensation.

You see unlike motorists, bike owners aren’t required to carry third party insurance. So if you find yourself on the wrong end of a speeding cyclist then there’s no way that you can be compensated for you injuries, no matter how serious they are.

So thank you to the Kitsilano community activists who didn’t just save the park they know and love, but saved pedestrians from a potential nightmare too.

Category: Pedestrian Accidents

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