Well, I predictably got flamed by two-wheelers of every stripe, accusing me of being non-environmental (the METHANE that bikeys produce! No catalytic converters in those Lycra shorts...), to being prejudiced against Mennonites (yes, my Mennonite relatives are also very misinformed when they drive their horse-and-buggies on public roads without proper lighting).
I was also importuned to "Get Real!"
Well folks, the REALITY is, Toronto is NOT Copenhagen or Amsterdam, and never will be, not in our lifetimes.
The REALITY is that cars outnumber bikes - what, 10,000 to one? 100,000 to one? On the Avenue Road hill south of St. Clair in February, maybe a million to NONE?
The REALITY is, cars are not going away.
The REALITY is, cars outweigh bikes by what - 40 to one?
The REALITY is that the danger is caused by car drivers, not bikers.
Of course it is. Who ever said anything different? Come on, people - how are we going to have a decent argument if you keep making MY points??
The issue is that I AM being real; it is the bikeys who are living in a fantasyland.
Well, not all of them. I got at least one supportive e-mail from a cyclist which I thought I'd share:
Your column yesterday was very good. I would like to add that I think all cyclists should be licensed. I have a bicycle and I ride it on a regular basis and I make sure my bike and my riding obey all the Highway Traffic Act regulations from horn to lights to stop signs. But if cyclists keep asking for special lanes, special space, special lock up areas, it's about time they started to pay for them! Let them take a riding test and get a license, get their cycles certified for safety, buy insurance, buy a license plate! If it's good enough for cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, it should be good enough for cyclists! Why do cyclists like to play chicken with cars? Don't they understand basic physics? Too often the only part of their body that works is the middle finger! 4 million cars in Ontario (a guess) and much fewer cycles but the cyclists scream more and seem to get more than they deserve. I guess if I wasn't so busy trying to earn a living and pay my bills, I would have time to cry like a spoiled baby too:(
I have read some of the comments [here] and there are a few good points and bad points. One thing I noticed is that a number of people say they have a 'right' to ride a bicycle. I just read the 'Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' and nowhere does it give me or you or anyone the right to ride a bicycle or drive a car or a horse or anything :). That means these are all 'privileges'. I wish people understood the difference. I also noted that not one of them indicated the will or desire to become licensed but some do think they pay as much as I do to use the roads.. They are wrong but I would gladly accept a full refund of what I do pay and then I could retire rich!