Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/5/2014 (1125 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In George Orwell's Animal Farm, the mantra was "four legs good, two legs bad" (or vice versa). In Winnipeg, replace legs with wheels and you've got the annual spring philosophical clash between motorists and cyclists.
No problem. Seize, barricade and reinforce the outside lane of every major roadway; roads like Osborne, too. People in the resulting heavy traffic will learn to take either a bike, or ride our rapidly developing rapid transit system.
-- Higgs G Boson
No problem -- as soon as they tax bicycles at the same rate as the fuel tax for my vehicles, you can have all the road you want. Until then, you get the same as us: scraps.
-- no sense
A bike lane can't cost nearly as much as a street does, and once built, a bike lane will cost almost zero in maintenance and will last decades longer. When you factor in the health benefits, it's actually pretty good value for money.
Our roads are crumbling and sinking into the depths of hell and we're still talking about spending more money on bike lanes... unfricking unbelievable! Except for a few idiots, bike season stops from November to March, so we're building all these bike lanes for a few people to use seven months of the year. And stop comparing Winnipeg to New York... they are two completely different worlds.
There are thousands of cyclists who commute daily to the U of M, yet Pembina Highway remains a death trap. Even University Crescent has no bike lane, despite the fact it was torn up curb to curb only a few years ago. Planning for cyclists isn't on the radar in many reconstruction projects.
The solution in most European cities is to extend the sidewalk to the curb and make that the cycle track. It might work here on major streets if lampposts and other obstacles can be moved.
I notice a lot of people here mention commuting-to-work figures as though they were the absolute benchmark.
I don't want to ride my bike to work every day. I will still carpool or take the bus. But as things stand, riding my bike outside of my neighbourhood, whether it's to go to work or to visit a friend, is not an option. The roads are dangerous for cyclists, pure and simple. Like many others in this city, I am not part of the three per cent that cycles to work every day, but I still want cycling to be a viable option for getting around town.
There used to be a licence for bikes; perhaps that might be reinstated to help defray costs, and also judge need -- lots of licences mean lots of cyclists. Drivers subsidize roads through gas taxes, bus users subsidize transit through fares, but cyclists don't have any way to pitch in on the infrastructure for their choice of transport even if they wanted to help things along. Having a central registry of bike serial numbers collected when the licence is issued would also help with returning lost/stolen bikes as well. Lastly, when that cyclist slammed into me on a residential sidewalk, it would have been nice to ask if anyone got the licence of that bike!
Ah, it must be spring in Winnipeg as the bike-vs.-car dilemna rears its ugly head, LOL. Basically, this argument will NEVER be settled.
Vehicle riders (who make up the vast majority of people who use the roads) will never agree to bike lanes when the roads in this city are so horrible. If the roads were in much better shape and the city was flush with cash, I guarantee there'd be lots of support for bike lanes. Until then, not a chance.
While bicyclists are vocal in their concerns, many very justified, they are clearly a small minority of people in this province. The majority will never agree to massive expenditures to help such a small minority, and any politician who wants to put his neck out for bike lanes will get it chopped off in the next election. This won't (and shouldn't) prevent bicyclists from asking, but they should realize they are probably trying to get blood from a stone in this case.