1,000,000 bike rides counted on Laurier bike lanes

Today, the bike counters that are built in the Laurier bike lanes counted the 1,000,000 bike ride. Last night the counter was 650 rides away from this mile stone number. With over 2000 rides last Monday it is reasonable to assume that the magic number was reached somewhere at the end of this morning.

The bike lane opened in July 2011. Although there was some resistance from condo owners and a Business Improvement Area on Bank St, the city recognized the need for a safer way to cross town.

The number of cyclists doubled to tripled and during the high season, the lanes see as many as 2500 to nearly 3000 bike rides a day, adding up to over 50,000 a month. The weekends are lower, indicating that the lanes are popular with commuters. 

The lanes are protected from faster traffic by concrete barriers and plastic bollards. The west end west bound part saw modifications to accommodate more parking for visitors to condo owners. This summer however, this part will be raised and will connect to Slater through the school property.

The 1,000,000th ride on Laurier was perhaps reached much earlier as the counters count both ways at one city block near Metcalfe St. There are cyclists who are only using part of the lane and rarely cross the counter at Metcalfe.

In the summer of 2013 council voted nearly unanimously to keep the Laurier Bike Lanes in the downtown core. Only one councilor abstained, being nervous that his yes vote would bring segregated bike lanes to his ward too.

Citizens for Safe Cycling, that celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, is happy with the results, but has concerns about right turning motor vehicles. Also stopping and parking in bike lanes remains an issue and we urge the city to be vigilant in monitoring this. Lastly, Citizens for Safe Cycling urges the city to remain focused on safer connections with the Laurier Bike Lane at both ends, integrating it in a network rather than a stand-alone eight block entity.

Some facts:

Rides are counted, not cyclists

Average speed of automobiles went down somewhat

Parking increased, as four lanes went down to two, freeing up space for parking

Emergency vehicles have not experienced delays

Number of users grew significantly after the lanes were put in place

Gloucester’s bike lanes were removed to add even more parking. The immediate area saw a net benefit in parking spaces

December, January and February are very slow months but the lanes are still being used as they are maintained in winter

The counters are buried in the lanes, underground, and detect small amounts of metal (ie bike frames)

The Laurier bike lanes are some of the busiest in a down town core in Canada

The world didn’t come to an end as was predicted