Saturday, January 04, 2020

Response to

Someone who hates bike lanes registered and posted a bunch of nonsense about cycling in Ottawa.

Here is my response to their main points:

"Cyclists must be licensed"

Why? Every study by every city that has looked at this in North America shows that it would be a giant waste of time. Here is the city of Toronto's take on it. Most importantly, unlike cars, it's rather hard to cause damage or injury/death with a bicycle. You could argue that we should charge as much as required to cover the cost, but considering that would be in the realm of $100-200 which is about the average value of bikes on the road, that would be ridiculous and unreasonably punitive. That, and many cyclists already have drivers licenses. So it's kind of a moot point.

"Cyclists must have insurance"

Most people are already insured for cycling. Bodily injury is covered by your provincial health coverage and the property is covered by your home/property insurance. The Insurance board has already stated that it's not worth their time to pursue liability insurance because of how little there is.

"Cyclists must have a licence plate"

Car drivers don't have license plates. Cars do. So what you're actually asking for is registration for bicycles. This is the same argument as the licensing issue above.

"Cyclists must not be allowed to ride on sidewalks, pedestrian overpasses, or the Sparks Street mall. to name a few"

Cyclists are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk. Multi use paths are fair game though. There are exclusively pedestrian overpasses which are signed as such and then yes, cyclists should not ride but walk their bikes.

"Cyclists must not be allowed to break numerous laws, including running red lights, running stop signs, excessive speed on shared pathways; and riding the wrong way on one-way streets, to name a few"

Let me know as soon as you've figured out how to prevent car drivers from doing the same and then we'll talk.

"Cyclists must be required to have all necessary safety equipment"

You didn't list what you think is necessary safety equipment. I don't know how this differs from the safety equipment a cyclists is required to have by the MTO.

"Cyclists must be treated the same as car users in all forms of enforcement."

I wish they were. Instead, cyclists are generally treated far worse by law enforcement. Car drivers are treated much more leniently.

"If you applied all these requirements to cyclists, I can guarantee you that there would not be such growth with cycling in this city."

So if you're goal, is simply to stem the growth of cycling, then sure, go do all these things. But that is an incredibly callous thing to do just because you don't like the chosen form of transport.

"However, as a mode of transportation, it is barely adequate at best. If done according to the law, it is not an efficient way to travel."

That is simply not true. Many people, like myself, routinely drop off their kids and school, go to work, do groceries and other shopping all by bike. It's not only far cheaper than driving, but far healthier as well.

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