Yesterday was the first time I cycled on Westminster Highway. I finished work and was on my way to Tokyo Joe’s near Lansdowne Mall. I decided to cycle just to explore. The trip was 11.5km.
Normally on my commute, I cycle in Vancouver and take my bike on public transit.
My route in was on the Westminster Highway bike lane from Fraserwood Place to Garden City Road. On the highway, there were separated bike lanes, shared lanes, and painted lanes. The separated lane was near farmlands with unpaved road between it and the traffic. Most of the lane was only separated by white paint.
Cycling in Richmond is different from in Vancouver. I find it more difficult because its roads are inconsistent, and I’m not familiar with the roads there. You will find that they have higher speed limits and less traffic calming.
In Richmond, you will find fewer side streets like those in Vancouver at least near Westminster Highway. If you try to go into the side streets, you will often go into parking lots with dead ends or have to travel a long way to go around. It’s like a maze. The junctions are often 1km apart which may make the city car friendly but unfortunately, it discourages walk and cycle commutes.
My plan was to take the side streets or even the sidewalks when I find the traffic too busy.
In Vancouver, it’s much easier to get around by cycling. There are plenty of cycling friendly side streets. The side streets are about 100m apart. A lot of the bike routes in Vancouver have many stop signs and roundabouts, and are limited to 30 km/h which improves safety. You can still cycle in other residential side streets because they are quiet. The main downside is that there are no traffic lights when crossing major streets.
Since the only option for me was to cycle on busy roads in Richmond, I probably won’t change my commute by cycling all the way. I felt too nervous at the intersections.
Have you ever cycled in Richmond? If you have, please share your experience.
Update: This information may not be accurate for all of Richmond and was based on where I cycled. It’s possible that the commute in some other areas of the city is peaceful.