I’ve been engaging with a lot of anti-bike folks on twitter over the past few months.
Observations and Thoughts.
[Note: these people are sometimes pejoratively called “carbrains” but that’s unfair, I think at lot of people share these views, even if they are not against bikes]
1. The built environment is immutable.
When someone says “Winnipeg is a car city,” they’re stating a fact, like “the sky is blue.”
It’s not right or wrong. It’s the way it is.
Whether it can or should change is beyond consideration.
2. Driving is frustrating.
Their arguments undoubtedly include an anecdote about a frustrating driving experience. Often with an accusation that I must never have experienced a similar frustration.
Drivers demand funding for road improvements as a remedy to this frustration.
3. Induced demand adds frustration.
While it’s important to inform drivers that adding more roads won’t solve their driving frustration, pointing this out only makes them more frustrated.
You’ve just told them that they live in a frustrating environment with no way out.
4. Cycling infrastructure demands that everyone bike.
This belief stems from a feeling that bike lanes are disruptive and expensive. So funding them can only be justified if most people bikes most places.
And it’s a nonstarter b/c of the how far most people would have to bike.
5. Safety isn’t a consideration.
Car violence is seen as state of nature.
Cars are so ingrained in our world that we’ve come to regard them as similar to a force of nature like weather.
Much like the built environment, it’s just the way it is. Shit happens.
Ok. So given these observations, I think we could make great strides by emphasizing the positive knock-on effects of funding bike lanes.
Namely that bike lanes actually make driving EASIER, save money and are a better use of land.
I would even go so far as to say that the tension between the two groups is false.
Bikes and cars are only at odds with each other because of 70 years of poor planning based on bad math.
Once you understand that the way forward becomes clear.