The altruistic argument to get our cars off the roads

Posted August 13, 2014

Writing in the Toronto Star, a reader proposed a solution to vehicle congestion in the GTA.

Here’s how he sees it.

First, employ a public transit system that moves people faster and gets them out of cars.

Next, make it easier for people to walk and or bike thereby reducing the need for cars.

Then tax people who continue to use their cars in the city.

More bike lanes, charge motorists more money to use city streets, now those are solutions to reduce traffic congestion.

Did it ever dawn on the writer that the money spent on bicycle lanes has the result of narrowing roads?

In Guelph that’s exactly what has happened as the bike lobby demands more bike lanes on arterial roads. In fact, the city is spending $13 million over the next ten years just to facilitate a vocal minority of enviro-cyclists.

Let’s see, cyclists, to meet their needs, requires modification, i.e. dedicated bike lanes. But riders are not licensed to use the public roads; do not pay to use those roads; carry no evidence of riding a bicycle safely; or have insurance that covers their use of the streets.

You cannot drive a vehicle in Ontario without proof of your ability to do so (driver’s licence) or proof of insurance. Through purchase of fuel for your car, part of the price is returned to each municipality to maintain the roads, bridges and infrastructure.

Cyclists do not contribute.

In Guelph, the Farbridge administration has changed the configuration of major arterial roads in the city to accommodate the use of bicycles. When major streets with four lanes are resurfaced, the pavement is re-marked to allow only two lanes, wider bike lanes and a left turn centre lane. Examples include: Stevenson from Eramosa to Speedvale, Silver Creek from Speedvale to Paisley and Downey Road from the Hanlon to the Hanlon Business Park entrance.

Now the city is proposing to provide bicycle lanes on two of Guelph’s busiest streets, Speedvale and Woodlawn.

The net result of this is more congestion in the city that has increased, in part, this summer due to road closures and construction.

The bike users keep saying that it is healthier to ride a bike than drive a car. They forget the rule of demographics that eliminates those between the ages of one and 13 and 65 to 100. That represents more than half of the population of the city. Then consider the portion of the population that are able and physically fit, more than 90 per cent depend on their cars to maintain their lifestyle.

But isn’t that what this is all about? A tiny minority of the population of Guelph actually rides their bicycles year round using major streets. This vocal group is demanding and the current council kowtows to them.

Their next argument is to ban cars to reduce fossil fuels and stop global warming. It has been proven that when one of four major volcanoes in the world erupts, it spews more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all the vehicles in the United States generate in one year.

But what about all those buses we see running arund town, empty most of the time? Citizens heavily subsidize Guelph Transit. More than 50 per cent of its revenues come from the university students who must buy a bus pass at the beginning of each semester. If there were no university in Guelph there would be no necessity for Guelph Transit at its present scale of operations.

Or, consider the commercial vehicles that provide the goods and services needed by a major city. Neither bicycles nor pubic transit can provide those services.

It’s time t0 stop pandering to this noisy minority of altruistic environmentalists who want to ban cars from downtown entirely.

Society is evolving. In the next ten years, there will be more vehicles on the road powered by non-fossil fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and even sunlight. Cars will be safer, more compact and technologic beyond anything we see today.

Instead of catering to this madding crowd of cyclists and their supporting cast of environmentalists believing they are right and the rest of us are wrong, lets tend to the vast majority of citizens and meet their needs.

In the past eight years, Guelph’s “progressive” experiment led by Mayor Farbridge has come at a gigantic price and the people are paying for it through excessive taxes and user fees.

Time to change.

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4 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “The altruistic argument to get our cars off the roads

  1. fairpensions09

    This is excellent Gerry.

    This particular issue has bugged me for a long time and I never understood it fully. Since the first time I was at a Guelph budget meeting. There were a few presentations on financial budget issues and about 15 progressives lined up to talk about bike lanes. What bikes had to do with budget I never understood.

    Your insights are really enlightening. The demographics is something that has always amazed me and you hit it right on. How many seniors can or want to get our their bike in the middle of winter or walk 4 blocks in a now storm to the bus stop? How many months of the year can we use bikes anyways?

    I guess this what it means living in a Socialist Paradise or as you say this Progressive Experiment.

    *Bill Tufts Fair Pensions For All * http://about.me/bill.tufts Ste, 824 1063 King St. W Hamilton On. L8S 4S3

    Call: 905-741-1904 Web site: Fair Pensions For All Twitter – @*Fairpension *

  2. Will

    Cyclists do not contribute therefore they should be hit with a special levy to partially fund bike lanes. Guelph suffers from a condition called urban sprawl thus making it difficult to cycle anywhere especially across town. I find it maddening that perfectly good four lane roads are being turned into two with in most cases a redundant center lane. Farbridge must be defeated in October or this city will be doomed.

  3. pegy powell

    AMEN to all of this .

    • DAVID BIRTWISTLE

      Gerry,you missed the emissions of CO 2 that are caused by flatulent bovines.Isn’t it about time GULEPH(“the city that GARBAGE built”) banned such creatures from within its boundaries?By the way,as most bicyclists ride on sidewalks are the “progressives” going to have bicycle lanes painted thereon?
      david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

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