Kelowna bike lane critique

We were biking Saturday and using the bike lanes that the City of Kelowna has created.

Great plan. We got around very easily—almost. That was, until the pedal of one of our bikes clipped the ridiculous curbs, tossing the rider and bike to the ground. There were no serious injuries but there could have been. The thoughtless curbs the city built are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Here are some other concerns.

Cluttered look—The city has way too many designs and it is looking cluttered and confusing. Ethel Street has had nice elevated bike lanes for a few years now and they are great. On our trip from the Lower Mission to the campus by the airport, we must have ridden on 12 different (bike lane) designs and layouts. We have a great standard that was created on Abbott Street and its beautiful use of grass, decorative lighting and the a bike lane separate from pedestrians, so why do we need all these different designs? The sheer number appears to be completely without planning or forethought. We need to pick two design plans and stick with them. The Abbot Street design for decorative and the Ethel Street raised lane design for a more industrial application. That’s it. Keep it simple and consistent in appearance.

Dangerous design—The design with the curbs is a dangerous idea. You leave a nice elevated bike lane and down into the trough of these curbs. (The city) also used these curbs on Casorso Road. There was a rider behind us and she has to pass us very carefully. With the narrow lane the curbs create and the pedal distance so you don’t crash your pedal into the curb, there is barely enough room for someone to pass. The city needs to go back and fill in these troughs they create so it looks and performs like the original Ethel Street design.

Lack of maintenance—The lack of maintenance is embarrassing. The whole trip had us riding through weeds and garbage everywhere.

The city has done a seven out of 10 job on the bike lanes to allow us to get around town. Regardless of the concerns I have expressed, we did have fun and will make use of the lanes as much as we can. But after using the beautiful Abbot Street corridor for several years, when I see the current designs the city has used, it gets a four out of 10.

With the many different designs, it left us looking ahead to figure out what was the bike path and what wasn’t. When the city wants to build a new bike lane, I have no idea why it wants to re-create the wheel . All it is doing is creating a flat tire instead.

I know every bike lane can’t be as nice as the Abbott Street design but at least pick two designs for different applications and stick with those.

Bill Ferguson

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