Burlington Cyclist vs. Driver Debate Ignites

 

The concept of “sharing the road” is a noble one. Municipalities all over the world continue to increase their efforts to encourage residents to get out of their cars on a bike. There are obvious economic and health benefits for the rider, as well as the residents who theoretically benefit from less pollution and road accidents, as well as less wear-and-tear on certain infrastructure. There are also studies that show bike lanes are associated with an increase in property values.

What’s not to love? Well, that brings us back to the concept of “sharing the road”. 

There are riders who are fed up with dangerous and unattentive drivers behind a motor vehicle putting their lives at risk, just as there are people behind the wheel who are tired of cyclists slowing traffic and ignoring the rules of the road.

Well, the two sides went head-to-head on the r/BurlingtonON Reddit community after user, “dwnvthrwaway” called out a cyclist who they “almost ran over”.

To the cyclist I was almost ran over on Brant Street Wednesday”, read the headline.

You better change your ways before you end up as a stain on the pavement. You were lucky that I was paying attention and was able to stop in time when you ran the red. Not everyone is as attentive while driving, lots of people are staring down at their phones. Your days are numbered if you keep taking dumb risks. Take this as your wake up call.”

Shots fired.

It didn’t long before the thread turned into a ‘Motor Vehicle vs. Cyclist’ Last Man Standing Digital Street Fight.

Many users concurred with the original post.

Burlington is full of these people,” posted u/fakename2012. “There is a particular group in the Aldershot area who are the most arrogant and aggressive cyclists I’ve ever seen.”

It’s a shame because they give a bad name to all the great cyclists out there, and to a great sport.”

u/Siguard_ likened cyclists’ desire to feel safe with some kind of social justice initiative: “Love how they want equal rights and they want us to share the road. one road, same rules for both.” 

There are more people using cars as a means of transportation than there are cyclists, so the representation for each side was expectedly unproportionate—ensuring the bout would be a handicap match.

The cyclists who did comment were quick to remind other posters to refrain from generalizing.

While some cyclists are idiots, some drivers are as well,” responded u/PSNDonutDude. “Don’t lump cyclists into one group. Many of us are just trying to get to work, grocery store or just out for a ride and follow as many of the rules as we can.”

u/Wolczyk pointed out the hypocrisy: “Oh ya I forgot all drivers, obey all the rules of the road, all the time.”

Not to be forgotten, Pedestrian entered the fray before turning the post into a triple-threat match.

To the driver who almost ran me over on Headon Forest drive, thank you for not killing me ;)”, commented u/yungmartino49, adding insult to injury with a wink.

Unfortunately, bringing your feet to a car and bike fight isn’t always wise.

Today lady was j walking.. Ok we all do it, but she didnt even look left and right as she was doing it,” commented u/SnebivljivaAzdaja before building up for the finisher. “So I slowed down. She got startled when she saw me.. So i decided to be extra kind and smiled nodding, like its ok, you can go.. Instead she started yelling at me to check my sight “dont you see me crossing”.. Sorry but I wanted to punch her in face..”

Ouch.

In all seriousness, all sides have no other choice but to coexist. 

The City of Burlington has made a commitment to building around a transportation model designed to provide people of all ages and abilities with more travel choices for things like walking, transit, and cycling.

Council implemented a Cycling Plan that focuses on how more everyday trips can be made by bicycle and that plan will continue to evolve and add to the current:

  • 48 km of bike lanes

  • 47.3 km of bike route streets

  • 6.4 km of bike lane/sharrow streets

  • 11.7 km of paved shoulders

  • 52.5 km of multi-use paths adjacent to the road

  • 31.6 km of paved off-road, multi-use paths

Instead of growing out, Burlington City Council made the decision to grow up and intensify in key urban areas. The 2016 Census data shows Burlington grew by 7,535 people between 2011 and 2016—a 4.3% overall growth rate. 

Over the last 30 years, Burlington’s transportation network accommodated growth by building more roadways; however, by the city’s own admission, that strategy is no longer sustainable due to limited space and the financial burden.

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