“Heard over the weekend: Opposition to bike lanes would decrease if cyclists could stifle the sanctimony. Agree or disagree?”
I’m not sure what the context was, but in the few related tweets that followed, there was some discussion about the divisiveness of Vancouver’s monthly Critical Mass rides.
There seem to be few things in Vancouver city politics that cause more emotional responses than the separated bike lanes. Starting with the Burrard Street Bridge bike lane, then the two downtown bike lanes (Dunsmuir St and Hornby St) reaction to their creation has been vocal and divided.
Heard over the weekend:Opposition to bike lanes would decrease if cyclists could stifle the sanctimony.Agree or disagree?
— Sandy Garossino (@Garossino) July 16, 2012
Ms. Garossimo’s tweet bugged me. Now, as she pointed out to me, it was something she heard and not necessarily something she agreed with. The broad-stroke painting of “cyclists” and reference to “sanctimony” are really what bothered me.
The efforts by various bicycle advocacy groups in Vancouver have been strong and ongoing for many years. Some have been more “in your face” than others, some have been “behind the scenes” working with various governments. All have been efforts to increase cyclist safety and bicycling participation in the city. To imply feigned belief in these goals is insulting to the hard work of many people over the past several decades.
But, backing off the emotional phrasing and response, suppose the question was phrased “Would opposition to bike lanes decrease if cyclists were less vocal?”
It seems to me that the opposition to the bike lanes focuses on two main issues: 1) Bike lanes negatively affect businesses, mainly through the removal of parking, and 2) Bike lanes increase motor-vehicle congestion. Both of which are disputed by city staffers. See the July 2011 report.
I don’t see how becoming less vocal would affect either of these opinions, particularly given that they don’t seem to be based on any facts.
Further, when has any social change (and the introduction of bike lanes in a major city are a social shift as much as anything else) been helped by NOT talking about it? In particular, in Vancouver, with its history of protest, marches, parades …
In short, no. “Cyclists should stifle the sanctimony?” Seems like it’s not cyclists with the attitude problem. There are groups in Vancouver that oppose ANY change to the status quo.
What do you think? Do cyclists in Vancouver deserve the sanctimonious label? Should they be quieter to build support for the bike lanes? Is opposition to bike lanes just another form of NIMBYism?
Last modified: August 6, 2012