Letter: Cyclists are not freeloaders

Cyclists are not freeloaders

Re: Whippersnapper whatevers

No, I wouldn't consider myself a "whippersnapper" but I learned in my 30's that staying mobile as I get older means that I need to stay active. That means that I bike a lot, walk a lot, and let my truck sit at home. That's been my life for decades now.

The idea that there is any relationship between licensing a vehicle and the financial support for the roads it uses is false. The majority of funding for our local roads comes from property taxes, that means that anyone living in the city pays directly or indirectly into the roadway fund. License fees go to ICBC, but the amount of money that ICBC turns around and uses for roadway projects is typically less than $10M per year for the whole province, which isn't even a tenth of a percent of the whole amount spent in this province.

The idea that having a license plate on a bike will allow reports of traffic infractions to flow through the system and generate fines and tickets is false. Also, how big a plate do you think would fit on a bike? Where would it fit with so many different styles of bicycles? The administration hassle this would create has been abandoned in most places when we were kids or before.

Plus, how well is that working for cars now? Do you report the license plates of cars speeding, blowing stop signs and red lights?

Finally, people on foot and people on bikes have been shown to support downtowns quite well. Locations that have prioritized active mobility over cars found that business increased, people going slower seem to impulse buy and window shop more than people in cars. Downtown Vancouver BIA was first against the loss of parking and the increased cycling infrastructure, now they're one of the biggest funding partners for HUB which is the local cycling advocacy group and they've said how much better downtown is now.

No, the idea that people on bikes are freeloaders is incorrect. The idea that people with cars "drive" our economy is just a good way to sell more cars. The car is not going away, but we're finally starting to have the conversation about the corner the car-centric lifestyle has backed us into. 

Giving up 40% of our land to roads and parking has created problems, we need to find solutions. Creating more space on Bernard for "people" will give us an idea of how things can be. I'll admit that if it could be that way 6-8 months out of the year I would love it, but I'll take what I can get.

Landon Bradshaw, Kelowna

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