● Attitudes about bike lanes and conflicts between motorists and cyclists.

CBC recently published a series of very interesting articles about attitudes across Canada about bike lanes and conflicts between motorists and cyclists. The articles are based on a major poll by Angus Reid which surveyed 5,423 people in urban centers across the country in March.

One of the findings of the poll is that there is far more support for separated (segregated) bike lanes in eastern Canada than western Canada. In Calgary and Edmonton people who believe there are too many bike lanes out number those who think there are not enough. The situation was a little better in Vancouver, but not by much.

Winnipeg was the big exception to the trend in western Canada. Winnipeggers are overwhelmingly of the opinion that there are not enough separated bike lanes. In Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax there are more people who believe that there not enough separated bike lanes than those who think there are too many.

The poll did not include people in the National Capital Region, even though the Ottawa-Gatineau area is Canada’s fourth largest urban centre.

The poll also examined perceptions about conflicts between cyclists and motorists. In most areas of the country, people believe that there is a fair amount of conflict between the two. The exception appears to be suburban Toronto where a large number of people didn’t think there was much of a conflict. I imagine that this is because in the suburbs, cycling is often limited to neighbourhoods, and there are not that many bicycles on the big-box thoroughfares that motorist rely on to get around.

Nationally, 17% of the people polled think there are too many separated bike lanes, 46% believe there are not enough, with the remaining 37% who feel that the status quo is sufficient. At first glance, these numbers seem to favour more separated bike lanes. However, the numbers could be read to mean that 54% of people are not in favour of more separated bike lanes.

In addition, people were polled about their views on who is responsible for the conflict between cyclists and motorists. Among those who believe there is a lot of conflict between the two groups, a majority blame the cyclists. However, the age of the respondents seems to be a factor in how people assign blame. People under the age of 35 tend to blame motorists, while it’s the opposite for the older segment of the population.

The different views of the two age groups can probably be explained by the fact that until recently, the general attitude of law-makers, police, and the general population was that bicycles were tolerated on roads as long as they didn’t interfere with motor vehicles in any way. This attitude has started to change for the better in the last decade or two, and younger people are more aware of this.

It’s also interesting to note that Winnipeggers are more likely to blame motorists, while Vancouverites tend to see cyclists as being responsible for the conflict.

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3 Comments on ● Attitudes about bike lanes and conflicts between motorists and cyclists.

  1. as a cyclist, I feel like a minority most of the time

  2. quickly turning into a 3rd world sht hole… I’ve biked in many countries, we’re lucky to have so many pathways and shoulders to bike on. Try biking in many 3rd world like countries and you will get pushed off the road as people sit in their mass machines of mass oil consumption (90 million barrels of oil we blow through in a day the world does).
    When people jump into a vehicle their mindset changes, they feel protected they feel powerful… nothing will stop them in some regards.
    When you’re on a bike, you feel free, you feel almost one with nature, taking it all in as sensors overload with colors etc…
    On one hand, you have the “freedom” cyclist on the other you have the metal cage of “power”. Who’s going to win?
    those with power love to blame/shame others for they have the power of the masses. They feel entitled to shame/blame others for their ignorance to their lazy ways.
    The cyclist is just trying to get from A to B in any manner possible, but now the roads are crowded with mass pieces of metal and rules/laws/policies that make it near impossible to get from A to B safely. Cyclists are forced into traffic on congested roadways told to obey or face strict penalties of mass consequences from our empires of shame/blame. Narcissistic they are these empires thinking they are solving problems with the swift stick.
    Really inhibiting freedoms from cyclists. They’re not the problem, the mass metal weighing in at 3000+ lbs consuming oil like it is endless with a waste factor of around 60% or more (only 20-40% is actually utilized to make that metal cage mobile). And, we all smile like fools as we sit in the mass metal cage getting our dopamine kick for the day… like retards really.

    Anyhow, I can go on and on with american society – our fat lazy asses put in metal cages of entitlement using up the earth’s resources leaving huge debt to future generations to pick up the mess. We’ve merely become ignorant stupid fools really of mass consumption and use stuff to prove self worth because we are so entwined with lack of self consciousness that stuff proves worth (car, houses, stuff). We’ve merely become a society of retards really. Ignorant to the planet thinking we can go on and on endlessly drinking back the fruits of the earth – it takes millions of years to create oil yet we suck it back like its endless then we shame/blame the lowest element on the roadways – pedestrains and cyclists. Then we have corrupt provinces like Quebec creating laws around it all to further blame/shame… stupidity at its best.

    the human race, we’re not the most brightest things on the planet that’s for damn sure…

  3. As a cyclist in the Ottawa area I find that cycling lanes while seemingly are safer in actual fact accumulate a lot of road debris that can cause cyclists to ride outside of the lanes. As to fault … the problem is twofold. Cyclists who violate the rules of the road (in all forms) tend to cause unwitting accidents plus on the other hand motorists also do not appreciate that cyclists are legal road users with the same rights and privileges. I believe the solution is education on both parties cyclists should be required to attend a course such as the CanBike (1 and 2) that is approved by the police and that police should start enforcing the rules and fines.

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