Injured cyclist sues over North Vancouver bike lane

An injured cyclist says he is moving ahead with legal action against the District of North Vancouver over a bike lane.

Lawyer Sam Lupton claims that if the district hadn't removed a pilot-project lane, he wouldn't have been involved in a serious crash two weeks ago while he was riding home from work.

“I was coming up Keith Road at about quarter to seven in the evening, and the next thing I knew I woke up in an ambulance,” Lupton said.

Witnesses said he was hit from behind by a car while riding along the route.

“I chipped my teeth and damaged my tongue in the accident,” he said. “But the biggest thing, of course, is my head injury. Ii suffered bleeding inside the brain.”

His bike was also ruined.

Last fall, the District and the City of North Vancouver put a bike lane on Keith Road, but it only lasted two weeks after complaints.

Still, Lupton's convinced if there were a bike lane, he wouldn’t have been hit.

“Vehicles would be aware that there's a bike lane there and presumably they would have the sense to stay out of it,” said Lupton.

In the meantime, he's joined a petition to get a bike lane returned.

The well-used, separated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver cost the city about $4 million to create.

But does all the expense equal safety? Cycling advocates say yes.

“If you look at Quebec, for example, in the past 30 years, their cycling rates have gone up 50 per cent and their collision rates have gone down 50 per cent,” said Erin O’Melinn, of the Vancouver bicycling organization, HUB. “That's aligned with a lot of additional spending that they've been putting in year after year.”

A recent University of B.C. study of bike accidents in Vancouver and Toronto found that painted bike lanes and especially separated bike lanes significantly reduced the risk of crashes and fatalities.

The District of North Vancouver says it is committed to creating cycling infrastructure, but currently has no plans to install bike lanes on that stretch of Keith Road.

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