Whether you’re cycling to work, to do an errand, or just for fun, it’s useful (and safer!) to plan your route in advance. This page outlines infrastructure to plan your route around, recommends route planning tools, and advises how to introduce multimodal trip planning. This page also includes a link to our webinar co-sponsored by TransLink on Wayfinding, "The Importance of Cycling Signage and How to Do it Well" (Sep 2022)
AAA infrastructure - All Ages and Abilities
Region-wide, 46% of the cycling network in Metro Vancouver is assessed as comfortable for most people, and about 65% of residents live within 400 metres of such a bikeway. The City of Vancouver leads the region, with 76% of its network classified as comfortable for most, and 90% of residents within 400 metres of such a route.
This is the gold standard of infrastructure that you should look out for when route planning, here are the most common ones:
Off street pathways: Mixed-Use Pathways exist adjacent to, or completely removed from, roadways and accommodate people cycling, walking and using other self-propelled mobility devices.
On-street separated pathways: These are separated pathways that go in two directions on one-way streets.
Neighbourhood Bikeways: Within the City of Vancouver, these are highlighted on street signs, and should allow for comfortable passing for people driving and people cycling.
Protected intersections: An intersection is where two or more roads converge, diverge, meet or cross. A protected intersection needs to have separate temporal phasing for people cycling and people driving. There needs to be protected collecting zones (somewhere clearly marked for them to wait out of the flow of traffic) for those riders making a two-staged turn. It’s important that a protected intersection is visible, such as having green paint to delineate bicycle right-of-ways through the intersection and it must have wide turning radii and stop bars for those driving vehicles to slow the flow of traffic.
As well as having AAA infrastructure, it’s important that the cycling network is CONNECTED, so you don’t get dumped on a busy street. #UNGAPTHEMAP is a HUB Cycling campaign that aims to connect the Metro Vancouver cycling network.
Route Planning Tools: Apps, Sites, Maps
- Letsgobiking.net - this website has great routes organized by easiness levels and municipalities in Metro Vancouver (and beyond!). There has also been a book published.
- Cyclinginvancouver.ca - this page focuses on Vancouver bike mapping with bike paths, bike racks, water fountains, public washrooms and Mobi bike share stations all highlighted
- Vancouver Bike Route Planner - this is inspired by the old UBC Cycle Vancouver trip planning website, which was brought about by research done as part of the Cycling in Cities research program at UBC.
- Cowlines - with this app, you can pick the fastest route, cheapest route, or the greenest route, as well as mix multiple modes of transportation.
Multimodal Trip Planning
TransLink provides funding for municipal bike routes and services to make cycling a viable travel option. A useful resource is their Regional Cycling Map available on their website.
You can bring your bike on buses, SkyTrain's, the SeaBus, and West Coast Express. You can also leave your bike at Translink Bike Parkades and Translink Bike Lockers to make your route easier.
If you want to try putting your bike on a bus, you can practice at a demo station at Main Street Science World, The City of North Vancouver’s City Hall Plaza, Production Way-University or Moody Centre.
Wayfinding: The importance of cycling signage and how to do it well
If you are interested in wayfinding and the importance of cycling signage, we encourage you to review this webinar on Leveraging TransLink's Cycling Wayfinding Guidelines. Adrian Bell, Director of Planning, Applied Information Group, gives an introduction to wayfinding and presents on the importance, benefits and cost-effectiveness of signage for biking and other forms of active travel.
Make sure to have a read of our other web resource pages on e-biking, route-planning, cycling with children, basic bike maintenance, and cycling in the fall and winter. We also have a HUB resource page that has a lot of helpful information about cycling in Metro Vancouver
If you want to take your learning a step further, check out our free StreetWise Cycling Online resource that can help you begin your cycling journey with confidence.