The City of Ottawa has established its first ‘advisory’ bike lane on Somerset Street East between Range Road and Chapel Street in Sandy Hill.
Unlike regular bikes lanes, cars are allowed to encroach in advisory bike lanes to avoid oncoming traffic. These type of lanes are used on streets that are too narrow to accommodate two way motor vehicle traffic and regular bike lanes.
Advisory bike lanes are defined by painted dashed lines instead of the solid lines that demarcate regular bike lanes.
The key to making advisory bike lanes workable is that cars are suppose to yield to cyclists before encroaching into these lanes. This means that when two cars coming in opposite directions meet while cyclists are in the advisory lanes on both sides of the street, the vehicles are going to have to come to a full stop until it is safe to encroach into the bike lanes. The problem is that not all motorists are going to do this.
Apparently, the advisory bike lanes are part of a pilot project for a section of Somerset Street. Last March there were reports that the city was considering installing advisory bike lanes on Byron Avenue between Island Park Drive and Sherbourne Avenue.
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