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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Enough with Bikes vs Cars – It’s about Better Cities! @planetizen


Courtesy Paul Kruegar
A few weeks back, I watched with concern Toronto having a rhetoric-heavy debate about removing the relatively new bike-lane on Jarvis Street. Last minute efforts to save the bike-lane were ultimately unsuccessful, although as small consolation, Council chose not to use bike-lane infrastructure funds to remove it – a previous intention that had been seen as adding budgeting insult to active mobility injury.
Just this week, I watched international press report on the findings of UBC Public Health research, verifying what we all knew. Painted bike-lanes reduce the risk of accidents by 50%, and separated bike-lanes reduce the risk by 90%. 
Bike-lane debates have been going on for some time in Toronto, as they have in many cities. In recent years, exaggerated and polarizing phrases like "anti-car" and "the war on the car" have been thrown around irresponsibly by media and politicians alike, making me wonder more than a few times if Fox News had moved to the metropolis once called "The City That Works." 
I suppose it illustrates part of the problem, that at this point I feel the urge to point out I don't consider myself a "cyclist." Doing so would seem as odd as calling myself a walker, a transit-rider, or a driver. I'm an urbanite, someone who loves living in cities, and an urbanist who has studied how cities work all of my adult life. Really, I'm a citizen.

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