Monday, September 11, 2006

Thanks for nothing...

Unlike some people I absolutely do not believe drivers in Toronto want to kill me when they see me riding my bicycle. However, that doesn't mean I don't need cars to see me as another road user, someone with a shared interest in keeping traffic moving safely. In short, I need drivers (and the politicians who want to keep traffic flowing in Toronto) to see me and my fellow bicycle riders as allies, or at least not enemies. Enter the subject of this post, Kenneth Kidd, who writes in the Star that he wants to recruit me into a secret anti-car militia:

But we have to be a little Machiavellian here: you encourage cyclists because they make automobile travel even more inconvenient. Anybody who has ever driven on a downtown street during rush hour knows the platelet effect that bicycles have on the flow of traffic.

I have no doubt that councillor Case Ootes will quote this individual in his push to get rid of bike lanes; if I thought Mr. Kidd represented the majority of transit (or bicycle) promoters, I'd have some sympathy with Councillor Ootes. Transit exists to move people; to listen to people like Mr Kidd, you'd think the population of Toronto existed to give the TTC a bunch of people to put in those cool buses and trains. I don't think so.

In any case, I think the time has certainly come to confront the tendency of environmentalists to wander into coercive thinking. Advocates of mass transit should focus on improving their service to the point that people will gladly leave their cars at home, instead of irresponsibly pitting road users against each other.

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