The Last Thing We Need is More Cyclists
These are cyclists
Joe at BikingToronto suggests that we have more than enough cyclists, but need more people who ride bikes. It is an idea he picked up from Josh in Seattle, who writes that biking should be easy and comfortable:
The more people who ride, the safer and more acceptable bicycling becomes. In order for that to happen, bicycling (or bicycling combined with transit) needs to be the easiest mode for short trips. Those Dutch commuters aren't riding for altruistic reasons. They're riding because it's easy and practical.
The label of "cyclist" is not only a loaded one (media portrayals of cyclists in Toronto often involve mentions of rule-breaking and self-righteousness) but inaccurate (since most people who ride bikes in Toronto are also pedestrians, motorists and transit users) and that it is harmful to the promotion of cycling in Toronto to use it... because the vast majority of cyclists in Toronto do not identify themselves as such.
As always, this discussion ends up at Copenhagenize:
We all have a vacuum cleaner, we've all learned how to use it and we all use it. But we don't go around thinking about our vaccum in the course of a day. Only when the bag is full do we roll our eyes and sigh. Kind of like when our tire is flat/chain is loose and we chuck our bike into the bike shop.
We don't have a 'stable' of vacuum cleaners. We don't buy vacuum cleaning clothes from our LVS or wave at other 'avid' vacuum cleaning 'enthusiasts' whilst we clean. The relationship to our bicycles is the same as to our vacuum cleaners. They're both merely incredibly effective and useful tools for making our daily lives easier.
They have a point. One cannot mention cycling in Toronto without seeing a million comments about dangerous riding and blowing through red lights and stop signs. The conversation should be about getting around comfortably and safely without a car; that is the real goal.
More on Cyclists and Bike Riders:
Cyclists Cause Less Than 10% of Bike/Car Accidents
Outraged Cyclists Re-Paint Removed Bike Lane, Guerilla Style
What Some Drivers Think About Cyclists in Tucson
6 Ways To Defuse Anti- Cyclist Road Rage
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