Bike lanes are appearing on Edmonton's streets and the false dichotomy can't be far behind.
Are you ready for it?
Shortly, as in probably the next few days, columnists like that guy who goes on Rebel Media cruises and fails to mention it when writing about the group, or that guy who hates photo radar and strangely has two Twitter accounts, will write something similar to the following: "There's a war on the car," they will scream, before complaining about the cost to build the lanes and the traffic "delays" and, well, what people incapable of unthinking car-think tend to complain about.
Be prepared. The message will resonate.
As laughable as this assertion will be in a city with some of the widest road lanes in the world, where driving downtown from the suburbs is still a simple 20-30 minute loaf rather than the sheer agony drivers in many other Canadian cities experience, where downtown streets are double-laned monsters, busy for barely an hour each morning and evening, and then deader than a sidewalk along those same monstrous streets, this idea will have a dangerous stickiness, especially with the municipal election around the corner.
Every story of a motorist being delayed will be magnified. Every story of a person being lulled into riding to work rather than driving because of the safety the lanes provide will be dismissed. The false dichotomy that any space given to others is somehow space taken from the motorist will be presented, and if allowed, left unchallenged. The yellers will be given attention. The cyclists will simply ride about silently.
There is not a war on the car in Edmonton. Bike lanes do not signal the beginning of this pretend war. Our streets are simply evolving to allow other users to co-exist with motorists. And after a few months, the anger and the shock will have worn off and we'll have taken a giant step toward closing our gap with other cities when it comes to cycling infrastructure.
See you on the other side.