When elected, Coun. Maggie Laidlaw swore to uphold the law.
Maggie is no ordinary councillor. She is an ardent cyclist who rides in rain, wind and slush. She works at the University and rides to her Ward Three home eschewing a car or public transit.
Are you getting the picture? This is one dedicated supporter of the cyclists among you.
Maggie is also known as being thrifty and perhaps parsimonious.
She has been elected as a champion of the working folks and the left leaning slant of the British Labour party. She is also a scientist employed at the University of Guelph.
Did I mention that she is highly opinionated?
Maggie Laidlaw stepped over the line recently when she insisted that cyclists should be given an exception to make a right turn on a red light at Macdonnell Street and Norfolk Street. Vehicles are not allowed to turn on a red light. It is for good reason because of obscure sightlines looking left down the Norfolk hill.Maggie insisted that bicyclists should have a sign that exempts then from this rule.
Her request was transferred to Allistair McIlveen, manager of Traffic and Parking for the city. He pointed out that bicycles are vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and are subject to the same rules as motorized vehicles. He was adamant in his decision.
So Maggie, undeterred, wrote back that the HTA was antiquated and need of serious updating, Then she added that she would continue to break the law and make a right turn on Norfolk Street, regardless of the probation of vehicles.
You have to love the determination of Coun. Laidlaw. She is convinced that cars in Guelph will be history in 20 years. Regardless, cycling in the city is a warm weather thing. So should the greater majority of residents be bound by the demands of the minority?
Ms. Laidlaw has been an advocate of cycling for many years. Just because she prefers riding a bicycle to work or shopping, does that mean the city must spend millions to accommodate her choices of transportation?
Well, Mayor Karen Farbridge stepped in and unequivocally stated that Coun. Laidlaw was out of line and reminded her that she would be breaking the law. It’s typical of this administration to tut-tut the miscreants.
Using words such as: “It is entirely inappropriate that you will disobey traffic rules.” tells you as lot about keeping the Farbridge coalition intact despite the errant meanderings of its membership.
If Maggie Laidlaw were a ballerina she would be Margo Fontaine.
You cannot ride your way to Nirvana.