on the burrard bridge question (and on paternalism).

July 23, 2009

while i still have the heart of a social democrat, there is a tiny libertarian inside of me.

and that libertarian says that, for the most part, i know what’s best for me.

now, when it comes to people arguing over the burrard street bridge bike lane trial, and all of the cyclist-bashing that is going about, i have three things to say to these motards who think that they own the road:

  1. whether or not i wear a helmet is not your concern, much as i really couldn’t care less whether you wear a seatbelt. of course, my friends are different – they can express their concern for my safety and have it register in my head. but if you are angry at cyclists for not obeying the rules of the road, don’t touch the helmet issue. and while you’re at it, stop whining about critical mass and saying that the 10 minutes you have to wait are proof of a left-wing conspiracy against you. also, if you can’t wait for 10 minutes in your car without having a nervous breakdown, you have a problem. (here’s a suggestion – get out of your car…it might do you some good!)
  2. yes, cyclists will sometimes break the rules of the road. but so do cars…all the time. let’s be honest here: when’s the last time you did a rolling stop? when’s the last time you went over the speed limit, even just by 10 km/h? when’s the last time you didn’t signal? if you say that you have always followed every rule of the road at all times, i’ll call bullshit.
  3. regarding no. 2 above, when a car hits a bike, the cyclist will either be severely injured or die. always. helmet or no. so when i get mad at you for passing me too closely, think about that. m’kay?

basically, i believe that cars and bikes can live together. but cyclists have been making concessions to motorists for decades.

the shift that we want to see in cycling will not happen until people feel safe to ride a bike without a helmet. so, really, you know what this city needs, bike-wise? a ride-to-rule campaign.

fellow cyclists! take up a whole lane! take all the time you need! be brave, and show the world what we’re made of.

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4 Responses to “on the burrard bridge question (and on paternalism).”

  1. Tristan Says:

    What about a take-the-lane mass? Where a group of cyclists obey all the rules cars are subject to?

    Except,really what we need are different rules for cars and bikes, because they are different.

  2. mkushnir Says:

    re. the take-the-lane mass, that’s exactly what i meant by “ride to rule”.

  3. Milan Says:

    I disagree.

    Cyclists should wear helmets and obey the law.

    Helmets really can save you in a fall (when I got hit by a pickup a few months ago, I landed on my head and walked away. Without a helmet, I would definitely have been in the hospital).

    And respecting traffic rules is important both for safety and for countering the idea that cyclists are reckless and irresponsible.

  4. mkushnir Says:

    milan,

    the question was not whether or not wearing a helmet is a good idea.

    rather, i meant to bring up that there are too many anti-bike people who claim that cyclists not wearing helmets is somehow a threat to public order. of course, this is not valid.

    furthermore, i never said that cyclists should not be held to the same standard as motorists. however, i am simply saying that motorists have much less to fear from cyclists’ infractions than from the reverse.


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