Bike Lane Class Warfare...Middle Class vs Middle Class...
I cycled all last summer to work from St. Clair to Lawrence. When I rode, I obeyed the rules of the road, stopped at red lights, signaled etc. Now I happen to walk to work and again, I obey the rules for my safety and others. I try not to base opinions on just my observations because that's never the whole story, however the most dangerous thing on the road to me was and continues to be fellow riders who ignore the rules and plunge ahead following the path of least resistance.
The majority of cyclists are like me, they don't want to die, they're courteous and take responsibility for their role as a vehicle. They defer to cars because they can be killed by them, and they defer to pedestrians because they can be killed by us.
If we wait maybe he'll set himself on fire.
I lived on Jarvis street for for four years and I didn't realize there was even a bike lane present until the decision was made to remove it -- again I can't say my personal experience represents an accurate picture, but I didn't see many cyclists actually using it in that time. Irregardless, it's more than a little obscene that any public discourse was steamrolled over when the decision came down from Our Ford to rip them out. The alternative for cyclists, as suggested by the Mayor's office, is for them to use Sherbourne Street, three blocks east. Cyclists are so mad that they're sitting down on the road to block construction equipment --Any second they're gonna start singing "We Shall Overcome."
"I want those pussy-ass bike lanes outta there!" -Rob Ford in a quote from The Toronto Star...not really, but y'know.
Mayor McCheese asserts that by removing the lanes he's responding to what the tax payers want, are we to assume these drivers made their feelings known at the same public meeting that cyclists presented a case to to keep the lanes open? But then...that's right, there was no meeting and that's why you have people, lefty-pinko attention whores they may be, sitting in the middle of the street obstructing the crews there to do a job.
Now there is a bike lane over on Sherbourne Street that, like Jarvis, runs North to South, that the Mayor and the Fry Kids insist is a suitable alternative for those being displaced. Defenders of Jarvis argue that many people who use the endangered lane shouldn't have to go out of their way on their treks to and from work -- But one second...
That's not a terrible distance to accommodate for a cyclist, really, honestly -- are you sure that's why?....And well, as Dave Meslin of The Toronto Star puts it, "many cyclists are also uncomfortable riding on Sherbourne at night, due to higher levels of crime." Sept 30th 2012.
Sherbourne is a super sketchy neighbourhood -We don't want to wander through a neighbourhood filled with poverty, drug addiction, crime, and other social ills.
He'll keep an eye on yer bike...or sell it for crack.
So we get to what is at the heart of the matter, and the words of our prophet George Carlin have come true. He, a product of the counter-culture revolution, the Hippy-Dippy Weatherman warned us against what he called "white bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths...worried that someday in the future they might be personally inconvenienced."
Instead of NIMBY syndrome, we have the corollary "I don't wanna go into that backyard" syndrome. Why then, don't we start an initiative to clean up this shit-hole neighbourhood, rally our city councillors to address the fundamental social ills like housing inequality and all the shit that people on both sides of the bike lane debate are keeping at arm's length?
It's absolutely wrong, immoral, and undemocratic to undertake an infrastructure project that affects a large population of commuters in this city without giving us, the people a say. And in this case, it is a total Middle-Class vs Middle Class issue, sure, but it's def a step in the wrong direction and won't look too good in the long run on a city that prides itself on being a beacon of progressive thinking.
So let's do something about it. As cyclists, let's count our losses, put our support behind candidates who will respect public discourse and make the positive change happen and get them elected. But while we're at it, let's use it as an opportunity to revitalize Sherbourne Street, because simply saying it's a sketchy neigbourhood that we don't want to ride our bikes through is, not really an argument and well, kinda shitty.