On the way from the old west end to Centrepointe, your agent wondered why we were discussing cycling at all. Much of the route was in the territory of chief Bike Gnome and Councillor Jeff Leiper.
On the trip there and back at rush hour, your agent saw only 16 bicycles on the road. Eleven of those were breaking road rules when I saw them.
On the entire stretch of Ottawa’s proud, multi-million dollar complete street of Churchill Avenue, only two cyclists were taking advantage of this costly infrastructure. One was breaking good biking rules. Seven of the 16 were not wearing helmets.
During that period, I saw no pedestrian errors and one rather bad automobile mistake.
The overwhelming feeling one gets from this situation is that only 16 people chose to bike on millions of dollars of cycling infrastructure and more than half were breaking cycling rules. Some more than one at the same time.
Particularly frustrating were the people riding on sidewalks when bike lanes were available to them. That’s terrible.
So Bike Gnomes, you have seen the enemy and it is you.
With the lack of use of good bike lanes by cyclists, one wonders why Bulldog readers are spending so much time discussing two-wheeled transportation issues. It is self-evident that cycling is not very popular for commuting. So why are taxpayers spending millions on unused bike lanes?
The lanes aren’t being used. Cyclists are in cars.
But for the loud bike lobby at city hall and the Gnomes on #ottbike, most people don’t care. They are voting with their feet.
Accordingly if this small minority wants taxpayers to fork out money for their preoccupation, perhaps a user fee should be applied to cycling. That can be accomplished through licensing and creating rigourous testing before that licence can be awarded. Then get some enforcement of the rules and laws.
And city officials should take note that before more bike lanes are approved, such lanes are really only heavily used in the late spring and early fall. Summer biking is curtailed by vacations and winter biking by terrible conditions.
Furthermore, if cyclists are not taking cycling seriously, why should the rest of us?
Video above: Apparently cycling rules are just suggestions.
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