By Gerry Barker
May 15, 2018
If you drive around town enough you can see how the two-wheeled cycle has pushed its way into our environment. Bike lanes are the stepchild of the consortium of the environmentalists many of whom are embedded in all levels of government.
Bicycles are seen by the environmentalists as its public face and proponent of eliminating fossil fuels as an energy source to be replaced by pedal power.
Say hello to thunder thighs and the new city of Guelphenhagan.
Guelph has been a leader in shrinking vehicle lanes to install or widen bike lanes. Every repaving of a major city street, is re-marked to accommodate bike lanes
I am reminded about eight years ago when then councillor Maggie Laidlaw, an ardent cyclist, predicted that in 20 years there would be no cars on the streets of Guelph.
Well, it hasn’t work out that way.
Instead, we have more fossil-fueled cars and commercial vehicles on our street than ever before.
The former Farbridge administration pushed hard to provide more and wider bike lanes wherever a major road was resurfaced. In many cases, vehicular traffic was confined to just one lane each way.
Such was the former mayor’s legacy to create today’s traffic congestion on our major streets and routes.
An example if this planning was the resurfacing of Downey Road. Before the road was resurfaced, a decision was made to widen the bike lanes to allegedly three meters. Now here is urban planning gone berserk. There are not two painted lines on the road for bike lanes but three.
My information is the planners want to make drivers aware that the actual bike lane had been widened and to give them warning.
Holy Mackinaw! How long does this minority group hold Guelph hostage to serve its use of public streets and roads? The biker minority expands its world at the expense of the vast majority of the population.
So let’s look at the numbers.
The City of Guelph has a ten-year bike lane-funding program of $300,000 a year. Over the years this has paid for lane restrictions, fancy coloured bike boxes at intersections and establishing bike lanes that are not complete. They start and then end, leaving the cyclist to fend with vehicles without the benefit of the completed bike lane. Driving around the city it is apparent that we have a part-time system of bike lanes.
Without question, successive Guelph administrations have spent millions on bike lanes to placate a strident bike lobby represents a tiny portion of the 131,000 people who live here.
Despite the traffic studies that show time and time again that motor vehicles vastly out-number the cyclists, the bike lobby remains funded with taxpayer money. In designing the Downey Road bike lane layout, an independent consultant measured vehicle flow two periods a day when traffic was heaviest. The result was that some 4,000 vehicles used the road during the two test periods while just 113 cyclists were spotted sharing the same road.
We now know that the bike lanes on the right side of Downy have this weird three-line configuration while the original bike lane on the other side of the road was not modified. Again, the vehicle lanes were shrunk to accommodate this new layout.
Who or what department is responsible for these whacko decisions?
Here’s what needs to be done.
Freeze all proposals to create additional bike lanes.
The staff should review and assign resources to complete ‘start and stop’ existing bike lanes on major roads or streets as a priority.
Set up a free bike licensing and safety incentive plan. This would encourage cyclists to protect their property with serial numbers embedded in the metal frame for ID in the event the bike is stolen. Offer front and rear blinking lights, a warning device and fluorescent vests. A copy of the Highway Traffic Act should be given each cyclist. This opportunity would have a time limit to encourage cyclists to sign up.
Unlicensed cyclists would face fines and possible suspension.
If we are to allow cyclists to use the bike lanes, observe the HTA rules covering the use of public streets, then the marriage of pedal power and the internal combustion engine powered vehicle should be much improved.
The Wild West that now exists is the outcome of neglect by the administration.
Vehicles using the public roads are required to pay taxes including ownership taxes, insurance taxes, property taxes, environmental taxes, sales taxes for fuel and repairs.
Cyclists using those same roads only pay, perhaps property taxes if they own property.
Until we tackle these issues the public money spent on bike lanes will continue unabated without the rule of law governing the safe sharing of the public thoroughfares.