● New attitudes vs old attitudes about cycling. In Ottawa, old attitudes often prevail.

This morning I came across two items in the media that juxtapose two very different attitudes about cycling.

One is an article in the Guardian about how, for the first time, bicycles outnumber cars in Copenhagen.

Many people believe it’s unfair the compare North American cities with this European city. Wrong. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Copenhagen was well on its way to becoming the type of car-centric city that is now common in Canada and the US. But then there was a change in attitude, and over a few decades, Copenhagen became one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world.

The second item is a column in the Ottawa Citizen by Kelly Egan in which he complains that some of the streets where the city has accommodated cyclists are becoming a big mess for motorists.

He bases his column on the experiences and observations of two individuals. One is a senior who complains that, because of a bus stop, a bush, and utility pole, she has a difficult time backing out of her driveway across the bike lane on Churchill Avenue. The second person is an Alta Vista resident who complains that reducing Main Street from four lanes to two lanes takes space away from motor vehicles. He also doesn’t like the new signage going up on Main Street.

Mr. Egan states that the changes to Churchill and Main will lead to a reduction in traffic speed and volumes, but he suggests there will be undesirable consequences for the rest of the city. He goes on to raise the question of whether the city is “engaging in a war on the automobile” (to use a phrase made famous by the late Rob Ford).

He closes off his column by quoting the Alta Vista resident: “How are we supposed to get around in our cars?”

Old attitudes die hard.

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1 Comment on ● New attitudes vs old attitudes about cycling. In Ottawa, old attitudes often prevail.

  1. Rob ford was a complete idiot… quick to judge and quick to anger slow to understand… its easy to tear apart something in society, its more difficult to build something up in society. So easy it is to shame/blame in society, thus the alternative mode to transportation suffers during mass hand outs of money as we are seeing in infrastructure spending now. This just equates to higher debt and taxes really for there is really very little ROI in the long run… just more roads for congestion and traffic to form. Make things easy and people will take the path of least resistance. We are lazy creatures for the most part. We can’t get rid of our creatures comforts now, thus a society that bitches about the smallest of irrelevant things and is hyper reactive about the smallest of things – bad hair syndrome I guess. Thus, the making of trumps, rob ford and others… they play with the laziness and dumb dumbs of society. Its so easy to blame/shame.
    Those on bikes aren’t the biggest of threats to society, if it is… then people don’t really have a big threat to their day. Try going to a third world country were food and clean water is your biggest challenge. We’ve become this nation of fools really, a nation of debt cry babies (1 trillion for canada with a population of 35M USA is 18 trillion in debt with 350 mouths to feed, when will the piper come to collect? interest rates…).
    Thus, we’re really a nation of lazy fools that loves to complain about the small stuff, the big stuff we let it breeze by… that’s the underlying problem really. Thus, its easy to blame/shame cyclist. We are seen as a nuisance to one’s lazy and lax day of creature comforts (laziness).

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