As someone who both cycles and drives a fair bit, I’ve got no axe to grind with either side of the bicycle-automobile debate. I’m an equal opportunity hater when I see a member of either fraternity doing something stupid. I lament the helmetless nimrod zipping his bike through stop signs with just as much gusto as I do the asshat in the truck who seems to take joy at blasting by a cyclist as fast and as close as possible. Neither one is showing any respect for those around them and they each give a bad name to their respective peeps.
However, I never feel my personal safety is threatened at all when I encounter bad cycling behind the wheel of my Xterra and I cannot say the same thing when I experience dangerous car drivers as I pedal my bike to work or for one of my several weekly training rides. As such, I’ll admit I come firmly down on the side of cyclists when the inevitable us versus them debates erupt once in a while. In Vancouver, where I live, the debate seems to never end. We have a very cycling-friendly city council and, from what I’ve observed, some of the worst car drivers anywhere. So, when council announced recently that they were set to expand dedicated bike lanes in Vancouver with another $3 million in funding, I knew the anti-cycling frothing wouldn’t be far behind. After all the first time they spent $3.2 million for dedicated Hornby and Dunsmuir Street bike lanes, some local talking heads insinuated that the sky was falling. I haven’t seen any follow-up studies, but have heard nothing of the mass business closings predicted at the time, and every time I’m downtown I see pretty heavy bike use on both these arteries.