the Thoughts of Separated Bike Lanes on a City Street,
Brings out the Emotions of Motorists and Cyclists
The Dialogue; Proposal for separated bike lanes (SBL) on 7th St. SW, Calgary AB
Reaction to Proposals for Separated Bike Lanes (SBL)
It is interesting to observe the dialogue from city politicians, staff, the public (both motorists and cyclists), and from the media when there is any movement to propose installation of separated bike lanes.
Motorists tend to express their desire towards where the status quo is the best policy. After all, they pay directly for the investment in roadways and their maintenance, not the pedestrians nor the cyclists. The fact that these motorists may live in other suburban communities and drive to work on the candidate streets for separated bike lanes do not distract them from coming forth with strong objections. Desire for having a vibrant, liveable, sustainable and green city where air pollution from cars is reduced seems to leave their thinking process and emotions takes over. More on this later.
Now, cyclists are not a homogenous group and come out quite vocal, as well as motorists, for their favourite solutions. In the dialogue, the best solutions for growing cycling traffic seem to leave their thinking process, as well. Considerations do not seem to come into the debate for what it will take in infrastructure designs to persuade motorists that they should leave their cars at home and cycle instead. Considerations do not come into their dialogue for what will it take in cycling infrastructure designs to persuade parents with children of ages of preschool, primary school, or young teenagers to let these children cycle with or without their parents, as is the case.
To frequently, the media seems to be too interested in firing up some debate to sell papers, airtime, or ad space. So, if they sense that a controversy can be started, they are too willing to go for it.
©H-JEH Becker, Velo.Urbanism, Third Wave Cycling Group Inc., 2013