A Frightening Myopia


You know Lars here on Twitter asked why I thought Ottawa would never be a bicycling city such as Helsinki.

So your agent politely said that Ottawa’s climate is much colder than Helsinki’s and that Europe has a different culture of transportation.

So how does my friend Lars respond? Not addressing climate or culture but that your agent has to embrace the future. Well what does that have to do with anything? That’s not the point of his question or my answer.

It’s just rhetoric. And that’s what you get on #ottbike on Twitter. The converted talking to the converted and wallowing in rhetoric rather than rational thought.

Here is how rational thought goes: “Two and two is four.” Answer: “Yes, it does.”



On #ottbike it is like this: “Two and two is four.” Answer: “You must embrace the future of cycling.”

I don’t know why I engage these people. They have a cult-like adherence to cycling that refuses to embrace debate or criticism. They ignore two valid answers to a question they asked and they just return to rhetoric. It is myopic and frightening.

Blindly following a cause is hardly rational or democratic. If a cause cannot address criticism or someone different, it doesn’t bode well for the future.

The vast majority of cyclists embrace cycling as good healthy recreation. And god bless them. But this cult on #ottbike is scary.



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3 thoughts on “A Frightening Myopia

  1. It would be more useful if Lars explained why Helsinki has cyclists now; what, if anything, the city did to support them and what infrastructure is in place there. Not many of us have been to Helsinki recently and, if he wants to persuade us of the virtues of what goes on there, it would be prudent to give us the details.
    “Get with the program.” isn’t something that inspires me to follow someone’s lead. If you have information that could educate me and possibly persuade me to your point of view, sharing that is a more likely method of conversion. It’s that honey/vinegar thing.

  2. Anyone else see the irony of embracing a mode of transportation introduced in the 19th century as the way of the future? It’s very Amish of the cycling fanatics to be so dogmatic about the role and place of a specific technology and then re-organizing all life and social order so as to accommodate ancient ways.

    The reality is that if we are to embrace the future, then we’re really talking about connected and autonomous vehicles. Roads and infrastructure will need to change to accommodate their deployment, and that’s the real question about where we want to go into the future. Bike lanes are not the future.

  3. Or some simple solutions. Like re-jigging some of the streets in the downtown core to be “bicycle only” roadways then convert some of the one-way streets so they can handle two-way traffic. There are many potential and affordable solutions to this issue.


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