Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Even more flex posts on Kilborn. Joy.

 As I was heading to the office yesterday, I spotted a bunch of new mounting points for flex posts on Kilborn west of Alta Vista. (There are already a bunch of these things east of Alta Vista, occasionally getting whacked by delivery vans and lying across the bike lane.)

Look, I get it. People speed and the cheapest thing the city can do about it (because they won't do the math on speed camera revenue) is put up hundreds and hundreds of these flexible wickets, so that the drivers will slow up a bit: not because they're afraid they'll hit a person, but because they're afraid something will hit their car. 

But as a bike rider I really dislike these things. This latest set, I discovered as I almost hit one of the mount points while going upwards of 40 km/h down the hill at the bottom of the road. Those bolts aren't really noticeable to a car tire: I definitely don't want to hit one at speed on a bike though.

And once the posts go up, they'll be one more thing I have to navigate and calculate for. Do I have room to pass that post on the right? Or do I have to take the lane for a second to pass it on the left, so that a driver doesn't try to go through the (usually about 3.5-m) space alongside me? Are there also parked cars to weave around and work into the equation? (There aren't any bike lanes on this part of Kilborn: the painted lines delineate a parking zone.) And in the winter, when they take them down, I'll need to watch for the little plates, which are permanent.

At least here, they don't appear to be putting in centre posts. The centre posts just create artificial pinch points where drivers unconsciously squeeze further over toward me because they don't want to hit the poles - all the while having their attention pulled to the pole they're passing, not the person on a bike. And on Pleasant Park, another street near me, there are centre posts flanked by side posts, where the side posts aren't far enough from the curb for a bike to get through. So about twice a block I have to shoulder check and move out to take the lane through the gap, or slam on the brakes to let cars past me because there's no room. 

Is speeding a problem? Sure. Are these things more hazardous than speeding? I don't know. Do these things slow people down? Sure - by, apparently, as much as 5 km/h! (Wow! Such much?) But it sure feels like trading one set of cycling hazards for another, without much of an upside for the cyclists.

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