This “news” piece is a disgusting example of stoking motorist elitism and violent attitudes. I feel a few things need to be made straight:
- There is not room for a car and a bicycle to safely share those lanes side-by-side. Repeat that.
- Taking the lane is done to cause a motorist to not try to squeeze past with their multiple ton metal box in a lane that does not accommodate that safely. Slowing down and waiting for a safe opportunity to pass will take, what? 10 seconds? 20? 30 or 60? How many minutes would it take for you to be comfortable with someone risking the rest of your life and your family’s lives without you? I’m guessing there isn’t any number at which anyone would be, so don’t risk that of anyone else for the same. Just slow down, be patient and hope others treat you with at least that basic amount of human decency.
- By riding abreast a large group significantly reduces its length and likewise the time and distance it takes to overtake them. Imagine trying to pass a single file line of 20 bicycles that must ride in the center of the lane due to lack of safe space. That part of British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act should be changed for everyone’s benefit.
- No one stops at stop signs. Whether people walk, ride, or drive people go right on through whenever they feel they have the chance. This is not a cyclist thing, it’s a people thing. The only difference is when a motorist does it it is dangerous for everyone around them. Every time. This article does a good job of introducing a study from the University of South Florida which reflects this point.
- On that point, imagine how happy the average angry motorists would be to have to sit and wait for 20 bicycles in front of them to each come to the complete stop motorists only demand of cyclists? Yet it will only take a few seconds for the whole group to follow the leader. There’s no need to imagine that, though. In San Francisco, people on bikes do just that occasionally.
I hope the shortsighted producer(s) at CTV who made this video trash is ashamed of the hateful, violent comments it’s drawn. Because I guarantee someone they love and who means the world to them, or someone that person loves, will face the violent hatred of a motorist someday for the simple act of riding a bicycle. Same goes for those commenters.
All it takes is a little empathy and considerate thought about the way things work to see you owe the world around you the utmost care while operating a machine as dangerous as a motor vehicle and that, no, a motor vehicle does imbue you with privilege above others.