Viewpoint : November 2016

Reserved Bus-Bike Lanes: Pros and Cons

The debate about bike access to reserved bus lanes is creating quite a stir: there are those who like being shielded from cars versus those who feel it’s dangerous. But what’s the real situation? And how is it playing out elsewhere? We feel that lanes reserved for buses and taxis should be accessible to cyclists. Prohibiting bikes from circulating in reserved lanes basically means that they can no longer circulate in these streets when the reserved lane is in effect.
Coexisting with buses is unavoidable, since this is a daily reality on major arteries and in reserved lanes, even if it is prohibited. For years, many North American and European cities have been developing reserved lanes for buses, taxis and bikes – with great success. But it seems that they are more difficult to implement in Québec, and especially in Montréal…
In a built environment, there is a tendency to forget that the configuration of reserved and shared lanes is based on several elements: the frequency and speed of buses, the width of the reserved lane and the length of time this lane is in effect, which may vary from 3 to 24 hours a day. Obviously, in the example of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operating in a lane reserved exclusively for buses at all times (generally in the center lane in the same direction as traffic), there is no room for bikes.
But as a rule, most reserved lanes can be configured to allow for safe bike circulation. And like anywhere else, mutual respect between drivers and cyclists is the key to successful coexistence.
The fact remains that even though reserved bus-bike lanes are not all bad, they cannot replace bike paths, since many cyclists simply do not feel comfortable in these lanes. A reserved bus lane is not a bike path, but rather an additional option for cyclists.
Milk and Vélo Québec: Over 30 years of collaboration!
The outstanding partnership between the Producteurs de lait du Québec and Vélo Québec as part of the Go Bike Montréal Festival will continue until at least 2019. Vélo Québec salutes its exceptional partner, which has been involved in the biking community for over 30 years!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO