Bike Lane Opponents’ Stance Starts To Unravel


In a prepared statement reported in the R&T today, opponents of the city’s cycling plan said, “We believe that bike paths off road are the way to go. That way, everyone will be safe.”  The proposed plan would do just that – by turning a mostly-unused parking lane of Laurier into a protected bike lane which is separated from and fenced “off road” to cars.  The opponents would seem to be acknowledging the evidence from across North America that protected bike lanes significantly reduce risk for those cycling, calm traffic, reduce risk for those driving, and encourage big uptakes in cycling activity.

The article also reports that, “Neighbourhood residents opposed to the Laurier Boulevard segment have argued the bike lanes will make an already unsafe traffic situation even more dangerous.”  Those residents still appear to be ignoring the knowledge that protected bike lanes improve safety for all road users, regardless of mode of travel, especially on busy roads. Sherbourne St in Toronto is but one such example.  That knowledge is informing the construction of protected bike lanes on busy roads from coast to coast, with safety improvements noted in every case.

Opponents tacitly acknowledge the cycling plan is good…

They are also quoted as saying, “We are not against bike lanes – just not ones on Laurier Boulevard.”  Opponents tacitly acknowledge the cycling plan is good, clearly casting their actions in a bitter NIMBY light at best.

The number of signatures the opponents have collected appears to reinforce that misinformation-based marketing, often called spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) can be quite effective at times, to the detriment of the community at large. This can always be countered by asking for evidence to back assertions.

Those supporting the plan don’t deal in scowls and dire warnings. They simply point to positive experiences in Ontario’s 28 Bike Friendly Communities that are home to 60% of Ontarians, as well as cities all across Canada and the USA.  Cycling facilities, such as protected bike lanes, are well-proven to be good for families, good for health and good for the cities that implement them.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.