A former Saanich council candidate’s comments about a crash Wednesday morning involving a car and a bike lane barrier led to a back and forth about where the most blame should be placed.
Vernon Lord, an engineer who ran for Saanich council in 2022, posted a photo (see above) from a crash that took place at 8 a.m. Wednesday (April 5) on Tillicum Road just before Gorge Road West.
A driver hopped up on a barrier that had been installed to create a protected bike lane, damaging the vehicle.
“Getting high centred on a poorly planned bike lane @ Gorge/Tillicum is ‘chill as hell,’” Lord tweeted.
The tweet brought swift criticism from dozens of local cyclists who praised the barrier for protecting riders from this driver.
In an interview with Black Press Media, Lord clarified that he was “half-joking” and that he does support protected bike lanes, “if properly designed.”
Lord has concerns about the barrier installed on this stretch of Tillicum, which he drives past at least twice a day. Lord said the bike lane was one that Saanich fast-tracked to say, “look at how fast we can do it.”
“But it’s a poorly planned project,” Lord said, adding that it’s on a narrow stretch of road and curves in a way that too easily catches drivers “off-guard.”
“If your mind wanders for even a second, you’ll be on top of it,” Lord said.
Black Press Media asked the District of Saanich for comment on the bike lane, but did not receive a statement by deadline. If the district does respond, this story will be updated.
The cycling community is defending this bike lane, including the Victoria non-profit Capital Bike.
“Saanich’s quick build protected bike lanes (on) Tillicum were shown to be effective this morning, as they prevented a driver from entering the bike lane and potentially harming a person walking or biking,” Corey Burger, Capital Bike’s policy and infrastructure chair, told Black Press Media.
Commenters responding to Lord’s tweet were critical of the driver and drivers in general – reinforcing the need for such protected bike lanes.
“You shouldn’t be driving if you can’t even drive in a straight line without hitting a curb,” tweeted @bencsin.
“A driver who failed to keep their car within the lines was safely and securely stopped without risk of running anyone down after they drove over a visible barrier,” tweeted @Real Luckless.
Others had suggestions for improving protected bike lanes.
“While I don’t think this is acceptable driving, I have wondered why these ‘plunked curbs’ have not been painted a bright yellow, white or something reflective added,” tweeted IslandFamily5. “When it’s dark & raining, they are impossible to see.”
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