Some candidates in the current civic campaign feel obliged to weigh in on cycling and bike lanes to appeal to those complaining, but aren’t thinking it through.  Some are flying ideas – like seasonal use and licensing – that, after a little consideration, have huge flaws that should have been evident to those proposing them .  In the event they get elected, what they think is a common-sense approach will prove anything but.

For example:

Ken Charko (NPA candidate for councillor):

First of all, I am in favour of the bike lanes …. [That’s always a warning – GP]

I believe seasonally separated bike lanes would meet more of Vancouverites’ needs. They would be available for cyclists, say from April 1 to September 30, and removed from October 1 to March 31, to make room for metered street parking. …

At the time of year when it’s darkest and dangerous, the separated routes would be taken out. Those cyclists still riding would be back in the traffic, competing for space with the cars that wouldn’t be expecting them.  And then, come the spring, it would all be changed back.  Imagine how upsetting it would be for everyone to have to adjust twice a year – and how dangerous.

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 Adriane Carr (Greem Party candidate for councillor):

Smarter growth also means more public transit, bike network improvement, and more efficient sharing of roads, including some bike-free routes and bus lanes, to reduce roadway conflicts and congestion.

She tried to clarify her position later – here – suggesting she only meant bike-free zones forbus lanes.  But the effect is the same: bikes would have to battle it out on the adjacent lanes in order to get access to businesses and residents on those streets.  Once the precedent was established, many would interpret it as a blanket prohibition of cycling on any but designated streets.  Once again, increasing conflict by attempting to solve it.

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Suzanne Anton (NPA candidate for mayor):

“What we can’t fix, we will take out,” said Anton. “Initiating this moratorium and the rapid non-partisan review will be on the agenda of our first NPA-led City Council meeting following this November’s election.”

What does ‘fix’ mean?  If the criteria for correction is interpreted as no inconvenience for vehicles, we going back to the transportation policies and business models of the 1960s and 70s.   When the world is going in the other direction.

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Sean Bickerton (NPA candidate for council)

Start a ‘Responsible Rider’ education and enforcement campaign to ensure cyclists are licensed, obey traffic safety regulations, stay off sidewalks and wear helmets.

Twenty seconds on Google, searching for “cost of liciensing bicycles.”   The first item two clicks in, from the City of Toronto:

The cost of obtaining a license to drive a motor vehicle is considerable. Much of that cost covers the administrative costs of maintaining an accurate database, and processing licenses. The costs of developing a system for cyclists would be similar. When asked to consider such a move in the past, the Ministry of Transportation has rejected it. If cyclists were asked to cover the cost of licensing, in many cases, the license would be more expensive than the bicycle itself. More here.

This is Red Tape.  This is making something administratively complex at significant price to achieve very little.  And it isn’t going to happen – so why make it a commitment?