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Cycling in the West End

Hitchin, United...
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Cycling in the West End

I'll be staying in Vancouver for 2 weeks in September and was thinking of renting a bike... Obviously it's a nice way to get around the Seawall, Stanley Park etc, but is it a viable way to get around the city, downtown and other areas? (I'm aiming to cycle to some further areas such as Hadden Park, Jericho Park and Kitsilano). I've been to Vancouver a few times but always as a pedestrian or bus user... so I've never really noticed if the roads were particularly cycle friendly.

From a bit of research I know I need a helmet by law. Is it unlawful to cycle on the pavement? And if so, I'm slightly concerned about riding across the busier junctions, particularly if I'm in the furthest right lane, that I could be hit by vehicles turning right. Do I have to get one lane over to avoid turning vehicles? Or do I have right of way if going straight on?

I've been looking at English Bay bike rentals who do a week long hire for $160, but if you know of any other firms who I should consider I'd be grateful to hear about them.

Thanks.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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1. Re: Cycling in the West End

The short answer is No Problem-as long as you have your head on a swivel and ride defensively.

Never expect that a car has seen you or that they will stop @ a Stop sign.

I've been a cyclist in the city for decades and will be cycling through the West End/Downtown later this afternoon going to/coming from work.

You can ride on the pavement-bike trails notwithstanding it's often the only place to ride (even the much vaunted bike trails are often just a line painted on the side of the road) but for your purposes bike trails around the seawall/over the bridge will suffice.

A helmet should be included in the rental price-check Reckless for comparison.

http://www.reckless.ca/

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Cycling in the West End

It is illegal to ride your bike on the pavement ( sidewalk ) although you do see people doing it. You risk a fine if caught. A helmet is just good sense so even though ticketing is rare I would not ride without one. You will love biking in Vancouver, weather permitting. The seawall for bikers goes counter-clockwise around Stanley Park all the way to Kitsilano Beach and is a lovely ride. You can even go farther to UBC following bike paths, as said mainly just painted lined out section of the roadway.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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3. Re: Cycling in the West End

I note that by 'pavement' some people may mean 'sidewalk'.

Sidewalk riding is indeed unlawful-there are a few shared sidewalk/bike trail pathways incorporated into the seawall but most 'sidewalks' are 100% for pedestrians.

As to turning protocol it all depends how bold/comfortable being bold you are-and of course how busy an intersection is-I judge mine on an intersection by intersection basis-if it's at all busy I dismount and cross as a pedestrian and rejoin the traffic stream at my convenience.

While technically you may have legal right of way in some situations standing on your rights is a good way to get hit-again never assume a car driver even sees you-that goes for other cyclists too.

You'll see hundreds of bicycles on the road here-many of them ridden by people who are completely clueless about the rules of the road-literally accidents waiting to happen.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Cycling in the West End

Vancouver is a very bike friendly city, but I think it pays to familiarize yourself with the bike routes.

vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/

When you know which routes are designated and you use them, it reinforces the authority of the bicycle on those routes and you are *hopefully* dealing with drivers who are aware that they are driving in a shared route.

And, yes indeed, what we know as a "sidewalk" is called "the pavement" in the UK. :>

Hitchin, United...
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5. Re: Cycling in the West End

Yes, sidewalk. Sorry, despite multiple visits I don't speaka da lingo so good.

It all sounds pretty straightforward, thank you all for your time. The cycling link is particularly helpful, I'm hoping I can get a paper map once in town... I believe the bike hire shops hand out something suitable when renting.

Cheers again. :-)

Vancouver
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6. Re: Cycling in the West End

I agree with everyone, biking is becoming very easy throughout the city with many bike only lanes and easy crossing over the burrard st bridge to some of your other destinations. Just stick the to bike routes and you will have no real issues. The sidewalks will likely be too full of people walking to bother riding on them anyway. There will be lots of people riding around so you won't be the only one on the road.

7. Re: Cycling in the West End

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