Green Spot: Bike Verus Car Wars

Ah, Toronto the city of so many problems now has another one.  The car is losing the war to the humble bike  (see here if you aren’t familiar with the background).  Basically the plan is to reduce a five lane street down to make room for dedicated bike lanes.

I have to admit, I understand the car drivers fustration.  They have had years of development focused solely on cars.  For example, almost every big box store complex is based at you driving between stores and lots of parking in between.  So now to find their interests on the back burner would be a sort of shocking experience.

The reality is I understand the need for change.  People won’t do things unless you make it easy.  So by trying to make taking a bike to work easier than a car is a useful exercise if you want to reduce the number of cars on the road.  Reduce pollution, ease traffic by shifting people to bikes and get healthier people all in one shot.  No wonder they are doing this.

The issue for the drivers is change is hard.  It isn’t easy getting second place when you been on top for so long.  If you don’t believe me, ask GM.  They went from first to a walking government controlled zombie in record time.

So do you agree with the idea of making biking easier in big cities or not?

10 thoughts on “Green Spot: Bike Verus Car Wars”

  1. It’s a no brainer that we have to make big cities more cycle-friendly. The point you make is a good one: our love affair with the car has been all-consuming since the 50’s. The pendulum is swinging and the changes that will follow will be good for our health and well-being as well as good for the planet. Three cheers to Toronto City Council.

  2. This plan is nice because the Jarvis lanes will link up with some other bike lanes running east and west. I’m a nervy cyclist (Toronto drivers are the worst I’ve ever seen) but that would encourage me to bike more. And Jarvis will still have four frickin lanes! I’m still convinced it won’t happen though. The combination of it not being in the budget and some elections before construction starts (I think?) smells bad to me.

    BTW, the notion of living in Rosedale and commuting downtown is also insane, in my mind. It’s one thing to drive downtown from Oakville or some other suburban hell, but a few minutes up Jarvis? I know rich people don’t like to lower themselves to taking transit, but they could take cabs and do without the stress of driving/parking.

  3. I’m totally in favour of making cities more bike-friendly! I’m in a smaller city than TO, and a friend of mine almost got flattened yesterday because she was on her bike in the bike lane when the light turned green, and the car that had been second in line (so they were behind her while waiting for the light) decided to turn right right into the front end of her bike (and then just continued driving like nothing happened).
    Makes us all want to bike on the sidewalk so we don’t get killed.

  4. Even the most die-hard car driver should be in favour of increased bicycle traffic.

    Every bike on the road is one less car to compete with.

  5. There is great debate here in Vancouver on a similar issue: reducing driving lanes on a bridge into the downtown core to make more room for cyclists.

    I’m 50/50 on my commute, half of the time I cycle, half of the time I drive.

    I agree that people only do what is easy, and they put up a big whiney fuss when things change (like the rapid increase in gas prices), but these changes are inevitable over the long term.

  6. Here in Montreal we’re just putting 3000 “BIXI” rental bikes into service.
    In the first 2 weeks they have logged about 180,000 km. so far. That’s a lot less cars on the road! Things have to change and we’re getting into it really quickly now, look at GM.

  7. i ride my bike 15 blocks morning lunch then home time.good exserise for me plus waiting for the $5000.00 vehicle rebate from are trusted gov’t. u.s and europe are already on it.See no insentive right now of gettig a newer vehicle for the familly.There are no side walks in the town we live in.Anyone seen the nes HST no good tax from the ont govt. Going to tax 90% of cdns threw mutual funds.more tax just what we need not!

  8. Interesting. I expected more resistance from people in regards to bikes over cars, but Ford hit it on the head. “Each bike is one less car to compete with.”


  9. Biking in Regina is great, in the months there’s no snow on the ground, except out in the strip mall wasteland of the east end.

    We need more bike lanes here too!

  10. I think the matter is being over-blown. The decision to reduce the number of lanes was already made prior to this debate. What was to be decided was whether the space would be added to the pedestrian space (see Bloor Street ‘renewal at Yonge and Bloor) or add bike lanes. But the media loves a good battle story, so it’s bikes vs cars.

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