Opinion: Burnaby needs Dutch intersections if it’s serious about climate change

Chris Campbell

Burnaby city council unanimously declared a climate emergency in September 2018 and committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

If it’s truly committed to this goal, the city has got to get more serious about encouraging more people to ditch their vehicles and cycle.

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I would cycle more if I actually felt safe getting to and from work. I don’t. I’m terrified because of the lame cycling infrastructure in the city.

Instead, I look to a Richmond city councillor who is pushing an amazing idea Burnaby should look at.

Coun. Kelly Greene wants safer cycling options, especially to encourage more women and kids to hop on a bike.

Some of her suggestions include Dutch intersections, two-way bike lanes and protected bike lanes.

What’s a Dutch intersection? I’m glad you asked. This infrastructure uses protected bike lanes to reduce the chance of crossing and turning conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles, according to the Bicycle Dutch website — it could help women and children feel safer when cycling in Burnaby.

“Protected bike lanes have shown to increase participation by women and children when compared to painted bike lanes,” reads the motion, which notes that women have different risk perception from men and are less likely to engage, either by themselves or with their children, in activities they perceive to be riskier.

Here is a video on how it works:

Another option put forward in the motion is two-way bike lanes.

Greene is also asking her city to consider Vision Zero principles for new bike lanes.

The term Vision Zero was introduced in the late-1990s in Sweden, according to Vision Zero Canada, when that country’s government pledged to eliminate death and serious injury from its roads.

Vision Zero places a shared responsibility for safety on both those who use the roads and the people who build the road systems, rather than just on road users.

These are all great ideas. Burnaby definitely needs protected bike lanes. Sure, they’ll cost money and some drivers will cry like babies, but we have to get serious about all of this. Encouraging people to get out of their vehicles will only help our society.

Time is running out.

  • With additional reporting by Kirsten Clarke, Richmond News

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44

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