Road Diets – err, maybe not a great idea

EDIT: To move a point at the bottom of this post to the top, I will reiterate – bike lanes on non-primary arterial roads and in residential neighbourhoods are a good idea.  Bike lanes in on major car/bus/truck routes that require reducing lanes of traffic are not.

FURTHER EDIT: I’m probably not going to budge much on this idea.  As a cyclist I agree with making roads accessible to all modes of transit, but not every road needs a bike lane.  It’s not practical.  And I just can’t can’t get behind road diets on heavily accessed industrial roads.  It’s just not safe.


It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who disagrees with the idea of ‘road diets’.  Something tells me this letter writer in today’s Standard represents a bigger number of motorists in the City than some may think.  The tone is a little more confrontational than I might take, but the point should be readily apparent to all.  And it’s a valid point:

We don’t live in a bicycle friendly culture! Due to high rates of theft, a bike commuter needs to travel with chains and locks — an inordinate amount in the case of a better bike.

Because of the deplorable road conditions in the city, it’s difficult to navigate them with a car, let alone a bicycle.

And yet, John Bacher, in a recent letter, argues for more bike lanes in the city — the so-called ‘road diet’ ( Bad decision on bike lanes, Aug. 28).

As a motorist and a bicyclist, I find the bike lanes to be superfluous. Constricted motoring lanes only add to traffic jams that already exist at peak times. Idling cars and commercial vehicles equal more carbon emissions.

Of course, ‘eco-radicals’ would argue that if motorists are inconvenienced, they will become bicyclists. Ain’t gonna happen!

The vast majority of motorists are courteous — I don’t need a bike lane to feel safer.

As for low-income folks, most already qualify for free bus vouchers from various social service agencies.

For those of us who are fed up with the road diet, the upcoming municipal election would be the ideal time to let John Bacher — and those of his ilk who are current councillors and council aspirants — know that he is not welcome at the city council table.

Philip Dyck St. Catharines

As another motorist and cyclist (I bike to work in Niagara Falls when I have the chance), I think bike lanes in residential areas and non-primary arterial roads would be a good idea. You can’t, however, put major traffic routes and industrial area roads on ‘road diets’ – as the writer says, traffic will only get worse. That won’t get people out of their cars, though – it will simply lead to more carbon emissions and road rage.

Kudos, again, to Councillor Secord for asking for the bike policy to be revisited.