● Taking time to spot the surreptitious anti-bicycle message.

It’s not hard to find an in-your-face anti-bike rant online or in the media. They may be over-the-top, lacking substance, and highly disagreeable, but they make no pretense of being anything other than what they are.

However, the public can also be influenced by a more subtle approach that often goes under the radar as an anti-bike statement. I couldn’t help thinking this when I read a letter which recently appeared in the Ottawa Citizen.

It’s a very short one paragraph letter. Anyone taking a quick glance at it could be forgiven for thinking its about a pedestrian complaining that the sidewalk along O’Connor Street wasn’t cleared as fast as the new bike lane.

But wait. If you take a second look at the letter, you soon realize that it was written by a motorist who has taken it upon himself to speak on behalf of pedestrians. What’s more, even though he doesn’t live in the city, he takes it upon himself to speak on behalf of the majority of the citizens of Ottawa..

The real point of the letter can be found in its closing words. The message: cyclists shouldn’t be catered to, and they are nothing more than a noisy minority.

Over time, these types of surreptitious messages can do more harm than an all-out anti-bike rant by a loud mouth radio talk show host.

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