19 January 2011

Ban Cycling in Winter! Thunder Bay, Ontario

Snowstorm Going Strong

Right off the bat we're going to link to a recent post featuring photos of cyclists in Copenhagen in the winter. Thanks to Eleanor for the following link.

So... Hot of the virtual press of the Thunder Bay News Watch:

"Cyclist hit by car. Transported to hospital". (We hope he is okay).

Now the comments that often accompany bicycle-related stories in the Anglo-Saxon world are often entertaining and creative - as well as healthy, shocking reminders of the extent of our deeply-rooted car culture. The ones that follow this story are hilarious.

Banning cycling in winter!

Here are some of the nuggets of hilarity:

The Wolf says:
With all the laws new and old to protect people from themselves,why have they not made it illegal to operate a bike in the winter? The roads and conditions are hard enough to navigate in the winter never mind having to keep an eye out for someone on an unstable bike.

nads74 says:
I disagree, about making it a law, honestly why do we need such a silly law when it's simple common sense!..ITS WINTER people...you can't afford a car or a bus or a cab, give yourself time to walk to your destination!...some people I swear!

Dudebro says:
The driver of the vehicle better not be charged unless he did something very wrong...there is NO reason for people to be riding bicycles in this kind of weather/environment.

As a matter of fact, it should be against the law to ride a bicycle on city streets during the winter time. If I knew how to push this forward and make a huge issue of it and try to get a bylaw passed I surely would.
Pro environment people this time don't have a leg to stand on because insisting on riding your green bicycles is putting the riders at risk and increasing the chances of accidents where they otherwise would likely not happen.
Is winter time people, PUT THE BICYCLES AWAY!

As a matter of fact, for the first time I think I am going to inquire as to how to get the process started of getting this banned in Thunder Bay.
I am sick and tired of having to dodge these people in the winter who still think its they're god given right to ride bicycles in the dead of winter!

Swirly-Q says:
Yes, please do get started on your bylaw to ban winter cycling. Also, winter jogging. And winter walking. These people are hazards to themselves and to all those around them. Or.... people could just learn to drive.

tannharr says:
Swirly-Q, I can't help but assume you're being sarcastic. It's against the law to operate a motorcycle in the winter, it should be the same for bicycles. The cyclists can opt to ride the bus, walk, jog, and if we have a huge snow storm, snowmobile in the winter time.

New Democrat says:
(...) it's absolutely stupid to be riding your bike in the winter. It's tough to see bikes sometimes. And when it's winter, you can't stop quite as easily as in summer. Nor can a bike. And when your 40 lbs of Zellers collides with a huge SUV, guess who is going to come out looking prettier?

Either make it legal and mandatory for bikes to operate on the sidewalk in the winter and take their right of way away or ban cycling in the winter altogether.

Ciniful says:
There is a MASSIVE difference between cycling in the winter and walking. Bicycles do not have the proper traction for winter weather. They are going to skid and swerve, and often in front of a car. An accident like this was only a matter of time, and more will happen, because people expect everyone else to move around them.

And it goes on and on. This is definately one of the more entertaining comment list. Note: Spelling mistakes are courtesy of the commenters.


Charlie said...

It doesn't make me laugh, it makes me sad.

Deliveryman said...

I agree,this is sad! Would like to know all the details,and am sure those that wrote about,don't know them. Some people don't want to hold themselves accountable,for their actions/thoughts!............Keep on Biking!

domotion2011 said...

Two sides to every story MCA. There are just as many positive responses to the"news" article as there are negative responses. The news of a cyclist injury in Thunder Bay incited ignorant people to say wacky shit. But level headed citizens fired back. Need a second post and parse the positive. Ying and Yang in Thunder Bay.

Kim said...

It shows a total lack of imagination, the sad fools just can't imagine how liberating it is not to be dependant on a car, being an individual not a drone, being self sufficient and not reliant on state subsidy...

ED said...

As always, great post!
FYI: you got two typos in there,
Hot of the virtual press should be 'hot off...'
And you misspelled definitely at the end there.
p.s. my short john got me to work splendidly in the snow this week.

Nick said...

Generally we Canadians try to forget that places like Thunder Bay exist.

Alas, sometimes we are sadly reminded.

Don't be too harsh on them, though. Canada is such a dysfunctional country that our only passenger rail service doesn't even stop in Thunder Bay. The city is isolated in Ontario's northern region where the only way to get around is by highway.

It's an industrial town, not a progressive urban melting pot.

Former Editor of IAOR said...

Looking at the photograph, it must be time for a by-law in Thunder Bay making it illegal to drive a car or van with snow on the roof. After all, if the vehicle has to stop, all that snow could blind the driver's vision.

Neil said...

Funny, maybe. Certainly you could replace the word "bike" with "car" in any one of those posts and come up with a completely coherent sentence.

However, the fact that these attitudes are mainstream is downright scary.

And you encounter the root of the Vehicular Cycling movement in "New Democrat's" comment. VC proponents start out just insisting on a right to use the road (without which, you can't get anywhere), and then forget that separate infrastructure would be even better.

Kiwehtin said...

Even in Montreal, where we have a fairly good network of bike paths and lanes, you get the same kinds of attitudes fairly often. A couple of years ago, people were howling in outrage when the city dared to clear a newly opened major bike path downtown when we had heavy winter snowstorms.

There doesn't seem to be any protest now, though, after Montreal put in place a network of bike paths in the greater area around downtown that are kept clear all winter. (Though this is far from the whole network. Once you get up into residential areas in the Plateau and beyond, crucial parts of the bike path network are left snowed in and impossible to navigate.)

David said...

@Former Editor of IAOR

The picture accompanying this article is NOT a picture of Thunder Bay or any other Canadian city.

Look at the cars. Not a honking big pickup truck in sight. Also, look at the license plates - they're long and narrow European-style plates, not North American-style squat plates.

Next, look at the traffic lights. They're on the NEAR side of the intersection on a post, not on the FAR side of the intersection suspended from something like a an arm or wires. Further up the road one can see trees on the side. That's unfortunately uncommon in Canadian cities, and, ironically, it's especially uncommon in places "out in the bush" like Thunder Bay where the city is surrounded by trees anyway so no gives a fig that there are few in it.

Finally, the road shows no sign of having been salted and gritted, as it would have been in any Canadian town of any size.

No, I'm afraid this is simply one of Mikael's pictures from Copenhagen... which means that the drivers who haven't cleared the snow off their roofs are Danes (not that all Canadians do so, but there is a degree of peer pressure to properly clear snow off vehicles).

What Do I Feel Like Riding today? said...

True winter cyclists should use studded tires

Mtler said...

"And when it's winter, you can't stop quite as easily as in summer. Nor can a bike."

Right. Cars are more dangerous to drive in winter, so are bikes. Everyday I see motorists in Montreal loosing control of their engine. And since THEY put the lives of others in danger, I cannot see why we do not talk about a car ban in winter...

Ryan said...

Nick, this isn't an "industrial town" issue, but a national one.
Kitchener, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatoon and a few other larger urban centres have all had people suggesting a ban on winter cycling at some point in the past three years.
Northern "industrial" towns such as Sault Ste Marie, North Bay, Prince George are actually respectable (or at least as respectable) as many larger (southern) urban areas in Canada.

A year or two ago a member of the police force in Kitchener suggested a ban after a cyclist was killed by a distracted and speeding motorist. Condition of the roads at the time? 100% dry; clear of ice, snow & slush.

I also think your being generous by calling Canada dysfunctional with regards to rail transport. We keep hearing on history shows and during history class how the train helped connect/form Canada...I think we're still using those same trains today.

As for a ban? Yesterday there was a 40 car accident near Orillia, Ontario with one person getting killed (might be more now). For the past three weeks I've heard on a daily basis reports of cars losing control.
Perhaps a ban on cars during this time of year, or perhaps we start to actually make people earn their license, rather then just give it to them.

Urbanplannercyclisthousebuilderetc... said...

Amazing how ignorant people can be!

hamish wilson said...

I agree that the photo isn't here in Ontario, but this one is, in Toronto. And kinda worst case of a bike lane..
But as for mindset, we do live in North Americar, though curiously in Ontcario, we don't have a regulation to require winter snow tires on cars.

Meaty and Convenient said...

@hamish wilson

I *LOVE* President's Choice meat lasagna! Can't get it here. :-(