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Friday, July 17, 2009

is your bike rack breeding bolsheviks?

Usually I try to keep my witty retorts to these sort of items to Twitter, but this recent quote from Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte called for more than a 140 character response:

The socialist-style re-education campaign told us motorists and cyclists can get along -- and if they simply watch for one another and stick to the rules of the road, our streets will be a safe place for both.

Diotte was referring to the City of Edmonton's Share the Road education campaign which is aimed at improving traffic safety and reducing injuries between motorists and cyclists. While I completely agree with Diotte's arguments that Edmonton's Police need to crack down on cyclists who break traffic laws and that we need more proper bike lanes on our major roads, I think he may be the only person in Edmonton who believes that our bike racks are breeding Bolsheviks.

BikesBoris Johnson

The challenge for many North American cities is to create an environment on our roads that will make the average commuter feel comfortable cycling to work if they are able. Campaigns like Share the Road shouldn't be geared towards the already hyper-active bike enthusiasts who are already cycling in rain or shine, but to the average Edmontonians who would ride their bikes to work a little more often if they felt they weren't going to get plowed over by a motorist or sideswiped by a crazy cyclist.

As a long-term growth strategy for Edmonton it's smart, it's healthy, and it could even possibly cut down the ridiculous amount of traffic congestion that is increasingly jamming our roads.


Mike Kendrick said...

Doesn't surprise me that a guy that once put a dent in my car door and just brushed it off when I parked next to him at the Sun would flaunt his automotive machismo in such an ignorant way. Tool.

Unknown said...

Agreed. Cars shouldn't dominate the road, and probably bikes shouldn't dominate the road. But after decades of infrastructure built around cars, it's probably time to shift the balance a bit. Vancouver's had a slooooow but palpable trend that way, with two lanes of the central Burrard Bridge recently being shifted to bike only. A nice step.

Darren Barefoot said...

Are we meant to take any newspaper editorial that uses the term 'BS' seriously?

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave

I am posting anonymously, like I usually do on the web. Please look at Tiny Perfect's post today. Can ANYTHING be done around the blogosphere to address this? How does Joe or Jane Anonymous fight back from such a threat? Is it better to blog anonymously or not at all?

Anonymous said...

Lol, a plea to help rescuse Lou Arab from the hole he dug himself. Thanks for the laff o the day, Anon 12:56.

On the original topic, what would be great is if this province had reasonable motoring laws in general. Enforce rules for cars and bicycles alike.

You now need a special license to pilot a motorboat and you can't ride a scooter without getting a full class 6 license intended for motorcycles. What the hell GOA?

We're the only province cooking up dumb stuff like that. What ever happened to Conservatives keeping government small and unobtrusive? Ed Stelmach & crew make Gary Doer's NDP look Libertarian.

No wonder people from all walks are starting to watch the Wildrose leaders race with interest. A return to the days of small government are needed.

Anonymous said...

A common sense response to an unreasonable rant. This keeps me coming back! Keep it up Dave!


Anonymous said...

Typical flailing and shouting and saying ridiculous things in an effort to remain relevant, the Sun.

I think most reasonable people see the need for developing traffic lanes for many different forms of transportation. I was [correctly] called out for my own flailing, though: the city needs to enforce traffic laws evenly, and it also needs to start creating bike lanes for cyclists. This medium of transport will only grow in popularity.

Party of One said...

Ummm...does anyone really take Kerry Diotte (or the Sun, for that matter)seriously as a commentator? The Sun thrives on controversy, if it isn't present they'll create it, anything to sell more advertising copy, living by the adage that there isn't any such thing as "bad publicity" or "bad press"...although one might argue that qualitatively they define it. Diotte's just doing his job, generating controversy...but that isn't journalism.

Anonymous said...

Kerry Diotte also did a very brief video version of this article. It's absolutely worth a watch. Find it here.

Unknown said...

the sun is a tabloid, not a newspaper

jerrymacGP said...

We in Grande Prairie are facing the same sort of challenges (though on a smaller scale, of course). As a some-time cyclist, it can be scary trying to share the road with our pickup-happy motorists. The City has just released a draft of a new Municipal Development Plan, which is intended to make this city more people-friendly and encourage healthy lifestyles (too bad they can't do anything about the winters though).

As for cyclists and the rules of the road, I have two observations: in residential areas I don't necessarily always stop for stop signs if there isn't any traffic to avoid, which is much easier to determine on a bike: there are no blind spots and it's easy to hear approaching cars (I never ride with earphones in). On main roads controlled by lights however I do follow the rules. However, whether I do or I don't, the person I am putting at risk is myself: if I am stupid enough to get into a my-fault collision with a vehicle, who do you think is going to pay the price? Certainly not the car driver. Enforcement of traffic laws on cyclists should be based on common sense: if I cut off a driver and force him to a sudden stop or other avoidance maneuver, I deserve a ticket; but a paper violation which has no effect on other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians should be let slide. And if I were ever to get a speeding ticket on a bike, I'd frame it and exhibit it for all to see!

Anonymous said...

The difference between a car and a bicycle: you probably won't kill someone with your bike.

Major roads usually have light pedestrian traffic, so I use the sidewalk. Illegal or not, my life is worth more than a bylaw. Otherwise, I stick to residential streets whenever possible.

I will NEVER share the road with motorists - especially EDMONTONIAN motorists!! (No offense to the good drivers out there.) I drive very defensively but I would've been killed & injured many times over in the last 10 years if I had tried. People just don't pay attention.

Not to mention some rednecks intentionally target cyclists, throwing bottles at me or running me off of the road.