June 2, 2015

Vancouver Diary: It’s in the timing

ButtonDianna notes a difference between Vancouver and San Francisco:


How to distinguish between group bike rides in Vancouver and San Francisco:

In San Francisco the first rider to arrive at an intersection pushes the crossing button in the hope that, by the time the last person arrives, the light will have changed after a minute or so.

In Vancouver we wait until everyone is at the intersection – because hitting the button actually causes something to happen. Very quickly.

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  1. Or more and more, there will be no button to push with bike and ped signals being timed. In the core of the city, there are enough people walking and cycling that the signal is pretty much triggered every cycle. When this happens, the signal should be timed. More convinent and people on bikes can position themselves better on the road.

  2. I used to thoughtlessly push the button upon arriving at the intersection. One day I arrived at Clark and Union, hit the button, and was startled by a couple of fully loaded semi-trailers screeching, shuddering and groaning to a stop. I realized that I had just at that moment caused more gas to be wasted than I had saved by biking instead of driving. So now I take a look before I hit the button and let any nearby buses or large trucks through – and if I can get across safely without any traffic conflicts then I don’t push the button at all.

  3. Right. Pushing the little button usually means pulling over into the parking lane. And do the drivers behind me allow me back into the travel lane? Not likely! After the light goes green I have to wait for them to go first.

  4. And if you press the pedestrian signal, you usually have to wait. But reach around the pole for the bike signal and you might actually catch the bus that’s coming.

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