My daily drive to downtown Victoria takes me over the Johnson Street Bridge.
And every day I watch as drivers waiting for the light to change stop in the middle of the painted lines marking the bike lane – blocking cyclists from passing.
These drivers don’t have to stop there. They could stop a few feet on the left side of the bike lane – being in the middle of the bike lane doesn’t get them anywhere faster.
But they still decided to block the lane while they are waiting for the light. It almost feels deliberate.
I see this every single day on my commute. I see lots of other (unnecessary) decisions drivers make in Victoria that make life more difficult for cyclists.
These decisions thankfully haven’t let to a cyclist being struck by a driver and their vehicle while I’ve been watching them, but others aren’t so lucky.
Today (Feb. 6) a cyclist was injured after being struck by a driver and their blue Kia at the intersection of Bay and Government. The photo of the Kia shows the entire windshield cracked and dented by the body of the cyclist, which means the vehicle was likely going a significant speed when their vehicle made contact with the bike.
Yeah, sure, the cyclist could be at fault – we don’t really know what happened and it’s still under investigation – but I have my doubts based on decades of watching drivers being reckless around cyclists.
It still feels like it’s open season on cyclists based on watching drivers being aggressive around cyclists.
Others seem to agree.
I’ve been punish passed here, as in drivers intentionally speeding past me as close as they can to threaten and intimidate, twice now. Bay is far too narrow to safely have turning lanes and bikes on it, and drivers will never care about “Take the Lane” signs.
— Parking Lot Appreciator (@MaxCSVictoria) February 6, 2023
There is plenty of animosity about cyclists back at my previous home in Metro Vancouver, but I have heard far more of it here in Victoria since moving to the area in December.
I’ve lost count of how many people complain about the protected bike lanes and how it’s an inconvenience to them. I’ve heard open hatred of cyclists. I’ve heard and read comments about how bike lanes aren’t used during the winter.
That last bit is baloney. I see a lot of cyclists riding the bike lanes, braving cold winds and rain – even snow – every day.
I think it’s great that Victoria has added so many protected bike lanes. My hometown of Burnaby is the third biggest city in B.C. and has very little cycling infrastructure.
Victoria residents should be proud that efforts are being made to save lives.
Yes, save lives. I know people complain about cyclists not following the rules of the road, but most drivers do the same. The difference is that if a cyclist makes a mistake, they pay the price, but when drivers break the rules, it’s cyclists and pedestrians that are the ones who suffer.
So don’t block bike lanes. Don’t run red lights. Don’t race through crosswalks.
And cut cyclists some slack.
Chris Campbell is an editor with Black Press Media in the Victoria hub of newspapers. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @shinebox44.
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