On Friday, June 16th, the first phased opening of the downtown bike grid will occur 🎆.

This first opening, is the 100 avenue route, with small feeders on 103st, up to Rogers Place, and south on 107st to the Legislature.

100 ave was getting dangerous with impatient drivers frustrated at cyclists not in the bike lane

This specific type of bicycle route, with two directions of bicycle traffic on one side of the road is a first for Edmonton, so there are some new features that will take some getting used to. There's more, and frequently updated information on the City of Edmonton website, but I'll share some details here as well.

The bike lane has right-of-way over right-turning vehicles

The new bike lanes are like an extra sidewalk. When turning right, you already have to yield to pedestrians crossing the road, and the bike lane is the same way. If you wish to turn right from a vehicle lane, you have to look both ways for cyclists coming as well as pedestrians on the sidewalk, and yield before crossing.

The bike boxes make it safe for cyclists to cross traffic

A cyclist wishing to turn left from a protected cycle lane would have to cross three lanes of traffic - two vehicle lanes and one cyclist lane, all alternating directions. That's a bad plan.

Cyclists aren't allowed to turn left from the bike lane in that case, instead, they proceed forward, and then move into the bike box in front of the cross-traffic direction. Then when the light changes, they may proceed forward.

Yes, this has implications for right turns on red. In most cases downtown where traffic interact with the bike network, we're going to see no right turn on red.

White squares outside a crosswalk are called "Elephant's Foot"

You'll notice small white squares along the outside of the crosswalks in Edmonton. These are called "Elephant's Foot" crossings and what they signal is that the crossing is shared-use, both people walking and biking will be crossing there.

One note is that Elephant's Feet don't actually have any meaning in the Alberta Highway Traffic Act - Don Iveson put forward a motion requesting the province update the law to allow for movement via that type of crossing, as well as the Idaho Stop. But, as of yet, nothing has happened there.

It's interesting to note, the City of Calgary actually passed a bylaw to give these crossings meaning in their city during their downtown cycle track pilot. This gives cyclists the right of way over motor vehicles in those crossings, just like pedestrians.

Calgary keeping its cyclists safe

The City of Edmonton has passed no such bylaw, so legally these crosswalks have no meaning here. Contrary to popular understanding cyclists are not required to dismount when entering a crosswalk, but if they do not they no longer have right-of-way over motor vehicles. This remains the current law in City of Edmonton, Elephant's Foot or no.

Elephant's Foot crossings will become a significant conflict point in the coming months, so both cyclists and drivers should exercise extreme caution around them

This kind of high-quality, safe cycling infrastructure is a first in Edmonton. Everyone please be safe and cautious as we get used to the changes - in Calgary's pilot cyclist injuries went up right after installation, before going way down.

Let's just skip the increase, and go straight to the massive decrease.