Hydro poles in middle of Vancouver bike lane a 'risk' to cyclists

Hydro poles placed in the middle of a bike lane on Southwest Marine Drive are causing havoc for cyclists, but the city promises to remove the obstacles by the end of the month.

Cyclists have counted at least three hydro poles in middle of S.W. Marine Drive bike lane

A cyclist rides around a hydro pole placed in the middle of a bike lane on Southwest Marine Drive while also keeping an eye on a moving vehicle.

Imagine you're out for a bike ride and suddenly you look up to see a power pole right in the middle of your bike lane.

That's exactly what's happening to some cyclists on Vancouver's Southwest Marine Drive near Maple Grove Park.

Lorne Blackman came upon three hydro poles while cycling on Monday.

Lorne Blackman says it isn't just the hydro poles in the middle of the bike lane that pose a risk to cyclists, but the traffic coming behind them is also a hazard.

"I stopped and took a photograph and said, 'Well, that's a one-off.' And then there was another one. And another one," said Blackman.

"So I stopped and took photos of each of the three of them and said, 'Something has got to get fixed here."

The City of Vancouver says the hydro poles used to be on the side of the road — but when the city expanded Southwest Marine Drive to include a bike lane, the power poles were left where they are and included in the new bike path.

The city's website says that stretch of road is officially closed from May until September of this year, but a lot of local traffic is still allowed.

The CBC spoke to several cyclists who were pedaling down the bike lane. Many of them say they've had several close calls because the poles appear so unexpectedly.

"I bike with my head down sometimes just because I get tired. But if I hadn't seen it, I'd be head-first right into it," said Gavin Vale.

Two cyclists ride around a hydro pole in the middle of a bike lane on Southwest Marine Drive.

 But Bob Lindsay says it's the cyclist's responsibility to keep an eye out for obstacles.

"I think cycling in Vancouver is about paying attention and going around things. So I didn't even think of those poles; you just go around them."

The city says removing the hydro poles was always part of the bike lane expansion project.

It says crews plan to remove the poles by August 26.

With files from Tanya Fletcher