A local authority in Canada has come in for some scathing criticism from cyclists after it unveiled a brand-new protected bike lane, complete with a number of raised pedestrian crossings – a feature missing on the notably flat crossings located on the busy road beside it.
Philip Marciniak, a cyclist from Saanich, a district and commuter town at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, posted a photo on Twitter of the somewhat unevenly implemented infrastructure, describing the decision to slow cyclists on a pedestrian crossing but not motorists as “strange”.
A lovely fresh protected bike lane in #Saanich along Gorge Rd.
I can't help but notice how the raised crosswalk ends before car lanes along the entire stretch. Strange as road level crosswalks are notoriously deadly in Saanich.
— Philip (@PhilipMarciniak) September 20, 2023
“A lovely fresh protected bike lane in Saanich along Gorge Rd,” he wrote. “I can’t help but notice how the raised crosswalk ends before car lanes along the entire stretch. Strange as road level crosswalks are notoriously deadly in Saanich.
“In a summer where another Saanich resident was killed in a street level crosswalk, and a year where ‘vision zero’ was endorsed by council, I can’t wrap my head around why deadly street level crosswalks are still being built in Saanich, despite the repeated avoidable tragedies.
“In the case for new sections of Gorge Rd, it’s particularly jarring to see the cycle path crossing rightfully raised, meanwhile the road crossing (proven deadly) left at road level.
“Raised crosswalks should be standard in Saanich if vision zero is being taken seriously no?”
The District of Saanich did respond to Phil’s concerns – though it’s safe to say that their reasoning didn’t go down too well with local cyclists.
The decision was made to not install raised crosswalks along Gorge as it is both a major truck route and transit route. Raised crossings were installed at the bike lanes to slow fast-moving cyclists and maintain access to the bus stops for persons with limited mobility.
— District of Saanich (@saanich) September 20, 2023
“The decision was made to not install raised crosswalks along Gorge as it is both a major truck route and transit route,” the local authority said.
“Raised crossings were installed at the bike lanes to slow fast-moving cyclists and maintain access to the bus stops for persons with limited mobility.”
“In my mind those are both reasons for raised crosswalks,” replied Marciniak. “Raised at least to some degree, doesn’t need to be extremely steep but the driver being reminded every time that this is a crosswalk is valuable I think.”
The design decision was also criticised by other cyclists, with one branding the layout “beyond parody”.
“It’s the same old ‘bikes are a menace, we need raised crossings to force them to slow down’, while ignoring the deadly cars right next door,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Why does someone die crossing the road every year in Saanich?” asked Mauricio Curbelo. “Saanich: ‘Well, you see, we design crosswalks to slow down fast-moving bicycles, but not fast-moving trucks and buses!’
“Once again proving pedestrian deaths aren’t accidents, they are design choices.”
Can we get details on the persons behind this decision that fast moving cyclists were 'a concern', but fast moving trucks were not?
Would it be possible to get detailed statements on why pedestrians need additional protections from bikes, but not trucks?
— A.Tabor (@RealLuckless) September 20, 2023
Meanwhile, Peter Spindloe said: “How in the world are you more concerned about fast moving cyclists than trucks and cars. The last three pedestrian collisions, including two fatalities, in Saanich crosswalks have been caused by cars and trucks.”
“This is ridiculous,” added Jen Stewart, “And the reasoning doesn’t stand up to the barest moment of scrutiny.
“You’ve built what otherwise looks like a beautiful active transportation route, but left pedestrians exposed to multi-tonne vehicles traveling faster than any cyclist.”
A Saanich councillor, Teale Phelps Bondaroff, has responded to the complaints by saying that he will investigate the matter with district staff.
Everything that is wrong with car centric road design in one photo
Absolutely astonishing https://t.co/qtL2e6f5Nk
— Harry Gray (@HarryHamishGray) September 22, 2023
It looks like Canada’s latest entry for the ‘Badly thought out infrastructure’ awards has sparked plenty of conversation on the interweb this afternoon, with one Twitter/X/whatever user describing the ramp-not a ramp layout of the pedestrian crossing – designed to stop those pesky speeding cyclists – as an example of “peak moto normativity”.
“Having a raised crossing is, I think, good for a walking point of view, but like so often in the UK, we don’t apply the same to the place where users are carrying the most kinetic energy,” wrote The Ranty Highwayman, while Safe Cycling Ireland drew on a classic meme for their appraisal: “Alexa, show me an image of car-blindness”.
“Incredible! Have the designers no idea about momentum of different vehicle classes?” asked Mike.
Meanwhile, cycling activist Harry Gray described the uneven crossing as “Everything that is wrong with car-centric road design in one photo. Absolutely astonishing.”
However, rather inevitably, not everyone was as scathing of the design…
“The problem is the bikes never stop at the pedestrian crossings,” noted Bobette.
Ah, well there was always going to be one…
It’s been a long week of dodgy cycle lanes, dodgier policy U-turns, endless crash discourse, and lots of website malfunctions, but we all made it to the finish…
Have a good weekend everyone! Now, where’s that darkened room?
Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge has said that German rider Michel Hessmann’s positive doping test during the summer was a “black day” for the Dutch team, which forced them to “look in the mirror ourselves” and ask “are we doing everything right?”
Last month, Jumbo-Visma announced that Hessmann had been suspended by the team after returning an out-of-competition positive test for a banned diuretic.
German authorities have since opened a criminal investigation into the 22-year-old – who supported Primož Roglič during the Slovenian’s successful attempt to win the Giro d’Italia in May – and conducted a raid on his home.
Hessmann faces a ban of up to four years under the WADA code if he can’t prove he unknowingly ingested the as-yet unidentified substance through a contaminated supplement.
Hessmann during the 2023 Giro (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)
The German’s positive test compounded a summer of suspicion and innuendo around Jumbo-Visma due to the dominance exerted by their riders at the three grand tours.
At the Vuelta a España, which saw the team complete a clean sweep of cycling’s three-week races this year following Roglič’s Giro win and Jonas Vingegaard’s second consecutive Tour triumph, Sepp Kuss – who took the spoils in Spain – told reporters that “cheating or doping is just out of the question”, while Vingegaard said he was “100 per cent sure that my two colleagues are not taking anything as well as myself”, a claim that was called into question in the wake of Hessmann’s positive test.
In his latest column for Wielerflits’ Ride magazine, Jumbo-Visma team manager Plugge outlined the team’s doping stance and went into more detail surrounding the news of Hessmann’s positive test.
“Wednesday, August 16, 2023 was a black day for our team. For the first time in ten years, we received the message that a rider from our team, Michel Hessmann, had a positive doping test,” Plugge wrote.
“It remains an open topic of discussion and the riders also keep each other on their toes. Unfortunately, it went wrong and then a lot came our way. We had to look in the mirror ourselves, are we doing everything right?
“Everyone involved in and with our organisation must be aware of everything. Germany has a doping law, so the public prosecutor’s office is automatically involved. Criminal law has the presumption of innocence, while disciplinary law reasons the other way around. It is up to the athlete to prove that he has done nothing wrong.”
Plugge took over what was then the Rabobank team in 2012 after years of doping scandals, with the aim of wiping the slate clean and to start afresh, an approach epitomised by the team’s ‘Blanco’ moniker while in between sponsorship deals. “We started as Blanco to give cycling back to the fans,” the 52-year-old said after Vingegaard’s first Tour triumph last year.
In his column, Plugge outlined the lengths to which his team go to avoid contaminated supplements, before concluding by asserting his belief in “clean” sport.
“If the test is carried out properly, there are two possibilities, either it is conscious, or it is contamination from a supplement or other medicine,” he wrote. “It is mandatory within our team to only use supplements and medicines that have been batch checked for doping substances, to minimise the risk of contamination. Many products contain remnants of other products.
“In short, an athlete cannot simply take a supplement, drug, or energy drink without knowing whether it has been tested beforehand. There can be a (in or out-of-competition) doping control 365 days a year, the athlete must be sharp every day.
“That is part of cycling policy. Riders (the multiple winners or leader jersey wearers) are checked between thirty and 150 times per year.
“That is good and should remain that way. We stand for fair sport in which talents cross swords on equal grounds. So that in cycling we only have clean days.”
The stresses and strains of organising a professional bike race have been well documented on this site over the past year or so, particularly in the wake of the economic uncertainty and crises currently whittling away at the British racing scene.
However, I’m sure the organisers of the Women’s Tour will be at least happy to have avoided the organisational chaos and carnage witnessed at the Adriatica Ionica stage race in Italy this week, which was cancelled last night – just 16 hours before the riders were due to set off from Corropoli for the first stage.
And, to add insult to injury, as the teams and journalists (including one poor soul from Australia), gathered in the Teramo province of eastern Italy, the race’s organiser, former world champion Moreno Argentin, broke the news that the three-day event had been cancelled – via a Zoom call.
According to Italian cycling site BiciPro, the 2.1 (third-tier) stage race – which was first held in 2018 and boasts winners such as Iván Sosa, Filippo Zana, and Lorenzo Fortunato, as well as providing a platform for future stars such as Giulio Ciccone – has been beset by issues such as the failure to agree TV rights and policing permits for road closures, while disputes with the Italian cycling federation and the UCI led to the organisers approaching the eve of the race with no jury.
However, with no official word from the organisers, 12 of the 16 teams set to take part in the race, including the Mark Donovan-led Q36.5 squad and Alexey Lutsenko’s Astana, rocked up to Corropoli yesterday, along with a smattering of journalists, a timing system, and a few no-parking signs for the team vehicles.
🚴♂️ We're all set for the Adriatica Ionica Race tomorrow. 🇮🇹
— Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team (@Q36_5ProCycling) September 21, 2023
However, everything else – the commissaires, sponsors, speakers, race radio, even most of the organisers – were missing, prompting the small town’s red-faced mayor to cancel a party he had planned for that evening after the team presentation.
“We couldn’t not come, based on an unofficial phone call from a member of the [Italian Cycling League] yesterday afternoon. It does not work like that,” Eolo-Kometa DS Stefano Zanatta said yesterday.
“We were waiting for an official communication and the only one we read was this morning, in which the organisation reserved the right to resolve the doubts by 4pm. We therefore showed up as normal.”
At 4.15pm, classics legend Argentin appeared, via video call, to inform the teams that he was working to plug the financial gaps and find the officials to keep the whole show on the road.
But then, just half an hour after Argentin’s Zoom call, the team directors were given the message: “Go home”, leading to a night of chaos, cancellations, and last-minute travel arrangements. The Italian then officially confirmed that the race would not go ahead last night.
Well, finally the decision has been made that the race is cancelled. No Adriatica Ionica Race in 2023. 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/2tAJU4iR8o
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) September 21, 2023
And let’s just say the teams aren’t too happy.
At 9.30pm last night, Astana tweeted, with an exasperated emoji to boot, “Well, finally the decision has been made that the race is cancelled. No Adriatica Ionica Race in 2023.”
Meanwhile, Q36.5, who had tweeted that they were “all set” for the race while Argentin’s Zoom call was taking place, posted this morning: “Sadly, in an unforeseen turn of events, the 2023 Adriatica Ionica Race will not take place. Our next competitive outing will, therefore, be Cro Race.”
I can sense this rumbling on for a while to come…
Ah, a live blog favourite (if you can call it that)… Impatient motorists driving where they shouldn’t – in this case, a School Street – and shouting at children on bikes holding them up:
Other classics of this rather unedifying genre include:
And of course, the viral bad driving video debate to end them all…
Ah, that was a ‘fun’ November…
The fall out from Stefan Küng’s horrific crash into the barriers during Wednesday’s European time trial championships continues, as reports from Denmark today suggest that the UCI are looking into the circumstances which led to the Swiss rider being permitted to get back on his bike and ride to the finish, despite sustaining clearly serious injuries.
Küng suffered a broken hand, cracked cheekbone, and minor concussion towards the end of his time trial in Emmen, but continued on to the finish, where he was finally examined by a medical team and taken to hospital.
The sight of the Swiss time triallist, bloodied, battered, and clearly dazed, sporting a badly cracked helmet, as he rode on after his crash has spawned days of online discourse on why Küng was allowed to continue in the first place, cycling’s attitudes towards concussion, and the sport’s tendency to mythologise acts of potential self-harm often dressed up as ‘bravery’ and ‘toughness’.
And now the UCI, according to Ekstra Bladet, has contacted Swiss Cycling to confirm that the governing body’s concussion protocol, introduced in late 2020 after a spate of worrying head injuries, was carried out in the immediate aftermath of their rider’s horrendous-looking, helmet-destroying fall.
The Danish newspaper also says that if the correct concussion protocol was not carried out for whatever reason, and that Küng was allowed to continue without a proper check, there may be consequences for the national federation.
Happy Car Free Day! (Maybe that’s why the site’s been crashing all day, it’s those sneaky motorists trying to sabotage the festivities…)
Anyway, and in news that will no doubt please my colleagues over at ebiketips, Cycling UK is urging people across the UK to mark the occasion by trying out an e-bike, which they say will be a “game changer” when it comes to making the swap from driving to cycling for shorter journeys.
According to the National Travel Survey, 67 percent of trips between one and five miles in England were driven, with more than half of those trips made for a combination of shopping and leisure.
Cycling UK reckons cycling would instead provide an “ideal” healthy and environmentally friendly, and cost-saving alternative to driving these short distances – and that e-bikes could prove the key to encouraging people reticent to take up cycling to make the switch to two wheels.
“E-cycles have the potential to transform how we travel short distances. They’re a game changer – they literally make cycling easier with every pedal stroke breaking down some of the barriers to cycling to work, like hills, fitness or time!” says Jenny Box, Cycling UK’s deputy director for the terribly punny Making Cycling E-asier scheme, a free initiative run by the charity in Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester, and Luton and Dunstable, where budding e-cyclists can access skills and confidence sessions, as well as free one-month e-bike loans.
Box continues: “This Car Free day, which is about giving people choices for other ways to travel, I’d urge everyone to give an e-bike a go, and see where it takes them. You’ll soon see how much you can save, how it can help get you fitter and cut your emissions – all while having fun.”
More from everyone’s favourite expertly designed and completely safe bike lane in Altrincham…
Until the next time the site crashes, of course. But until then, let’s get back to the Friday live blogging, shall we?
Exclusive images from road.cc’s behind the scenes team this morning, over and over again…
As you may have noticed, things are going a bit haywire on road.cc at the moment (hell, even this blog post didn’t work for ages), so please bear with us…
Fair play to road.cc reader HoarseMann though for brightening up my morning, and preventing me from throwing my computer out the window, with this pictorially accurate representation of the site over the last day or so.
Hopefully we’ll get everything back running nicely soon, so stick with us, it’s almost the weekend. And, deep breath…
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.