Off course

Vernon's bike path plans taking roads away from motorists

Leave our roads alone. No, wait, fix them.

It’s not clear to me why certain city planners and councillors are so fixated on roadside bike paths that in many cases, they actually contemplate taking away automobile lanes (as proposed on 43rd Avenue).

Take 27th Avenue, north of 41st Street, for example. The bike lane is wide enough for a main battle tank while cars have to weave between potholes with bare inches to spare on the spare section of road reserved for them. Fortunately, there’s rarely a cyclist to be seen, so as long as no one is parked in the 20-foot-wide bike path, these hapless motorists can usually swerve in time to avoid breaking an axle.

Look, I ride a bike and I occasionally ride downtown.

Yes, I find it mildly inconvenient to share the road with motorists, but I also understand that most people use more common-sense transportation, and probably will for the next eon or so.  It only makes sense that roads should be designed with motorized traffic in mind.  Which leads me to ask why some folks want to actually get rid of vehicle lanes to accommodate more useless bike paths?

I’ve heard a number of reasons, including the notion that we need a greener city, and that we want to make Vernon more child-friendly. I’m all for greener cities, and as soon as we figure out how to move several metric tons of freight on the back of a 10-speed, I’ll help abolish trucks.

Cars might be a bit of a problem though, since I’ve seen a few elderly folks who probably aren’t going to be happy about biking around much, and even less so in January.  As for child-friendly, not many parents are going to send their kids out on busy downtown roads to play in traffic, are they?

If I didn’t know better, I’d think this bike path fixation was the the result of a vision of Vernon some folks keep tucked away in the back of their minds.

It involves an utopia in which cars and trucks are gone, and the population is happily pedaling its way to perfect health in a smogless, smokeless, water-bottleless nirvana.

Here’s some advice for the city planners and those city councillors who have hopped on the green bandwagon:  stop taking our roads away. And while you’re at it, why not fix the potholes in the ones that remain?


Scott Anderson, Vernon