Sunday, February 26, 2012

Commute by bike it's not as bad as you think

 Often controversial, interesting, and thought provoking. Letters to the Editor are a vital part of the voice in our community.This one appeared in Friday's North Shore News:

Commute by bike it's not as bad as you think

 Dear Editor:

Coun. Lisa Muri said, "In Seymour, you need a car, you can't wait
for the bus." Why not? Millions of people do it every day around the
world. Based on this attitude I am sure she could also easily say,
"In Seymour, you need a car, you can't ride a bike." Tens of
thousands of North Shore residents must share the same opinions towards transit and cycling. This is where the problem sits.

I see a bike-based future. I presently commute by bike from Lynn
Valley to downtown Vancouver in less than 35 minutes, five minutes
faster than transit. My commute home is 45 minutes. I commute
by bike year-round to the tune of 2,500-3,000 kilometres each 
year. I don't have a gym membership or a transit pass and I
wouldn't have it any other way. I would never commute by car
even though my family has two of them. It is a shame that the
transition from car to bike commuting has always been a struggle 
for people.

Excuses, excuses. It's not nearly as bad as the masses think.

Matt Henderson North Vancouver

FEBRUARY 24, 2012

Link to letter


Ben said...

I commute daily from the top of Lonsdale to Chinatown and couldn't agree more with this post.

My morning commute is consistently 30 minutes, no matter what the traffic, and my ride home is 50 minutes. This makes it faster than the bus for a round trip and not that much slower than driving.

The Second Narrows bridge is a major impediment to bike commuters, the Lions Gate is a vastly superior bike route.

Anonymous said...

People tend to forget that many of us are seniors, or parents with children. They need to use their cars or public transit. Some people cannot ride a bike up and down the hills, due to being physically unable to do so. Not everybody is able to commute by bicycle and the numbers will remain small as the population ages. Great if you can do it, but don't slam those that cannot cycle.

Anonymous said...

Lisa has three small children...

Alex said...

There are always way around obstacles to bike commuting. If you have trouble with the hills, you can get an electric assist, or if you don't want to ride the whole way, you can always get a folding bike and combine your ride with driving or transit to make it a more manageable distance.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your efforts, and it may work for you, but it rains 8 months of the year and I have to arrive in a suit, not looking like I've slept in it (or worn it in the shower).

Anonymous said...

There is a cadre of regular bike riders who are a tiny part of the travelling population.

They enjoy cycling and it works for them.

There are seniors, moms with kids, physically infirm, those commuting long distances or to awkward locations remote from transit, time sensitive trips, those who prepare their shower, grooming and clothing at home because the workplace facilities are inadequate etc., etc.

For some reason the attention and resources to the cyclists are out of all proportion to their numbers.

Militant cyclists intentionally disrupt vehicle traffic on a monthly basis.

Numerous cyclists routinely ignore traffic devices and break traffic laws putting themselves and drivers at risk.

Bicycles are unlicensed and uninsured avoiding contributing to their mode of transport.

Politicians need to get things back in focus.

It's getting a bit tiring paying for, dodging, and hearing endless complaints from cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Anon Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:37:00 AM,

If the cyclist is paying property taxes (via home ownership or renting), he is contributing financially to the infrastructure that he is using. So your 7th point is unfounded.

Lets keep facts in he discussion, not misinformation.

And no, I'm not a cyclist - haven't owned one for years.

Anonymous said...

Major infrastructure (HIghways bridges etc) is paid for primarily out of gas taxes to Translink, in that respect they are not contributing enough.

Anonymous said...

How much wear and tear are the bikes causing vs. automobiles, trucks, etc? Chances are, bike commuters are also automobile owners, so are probably paying into the system more than you think.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:16. He is contributing far less than those paying the gas tax.

Let's stick to facts not nitpicking.

Anonymous said...

What's the gas tax paying for again?
And again, how many cyclists also operate vehicles ( pay the gas tax)? The only way you're going to get everyone paying the same amount is if the roads become pay per use.

Anonymous said...

You're not burning gas (fuel tax, carbon tax, tranlink tax) if you're riding a bike. The more enthusiatic a biker you are the less you contribute.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how petty people have become. By your logic, since I use my car less than you, I should get a discount on my fuel and property taxes. If a person pays taxes, he contributes to the infrastructure. Concentrate on getting the system to work rather than the petty whining about having to share the roads with cyclists and pedestrians. Some of you are sounding embarrassingly entitled.

Anonymous said...

If cyclists want additional road space for their exclusive use, then yes, they should contribute through taxation. I recognize that there are some broad benefits to having someone switch to cycling, but they join electric vehicles in adding to the load of the road without contributing to major infrastructure improvements.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:46. No you should pay for exactly what you use just like the rest of us.

If you use less gas then just pay for what you use - no discount.

We all pay property tax so that's pretty well a wash.

It never fails to amaze that those that vocally oppose the concept of user pay are so frequently the non-paying or subsidized user.

Anonymous said...

I've got news for you, we're all subsidized users no matter what you ride/drive.

Anonymous said...

I've got news for you. There's only one taxpayer and we're not all subsidized.

Some pay a far greater share than there actual usage and others fly under the radar riding on the coattails of those subsidizing them.

The galling thing is their sense of entitlement to the subsidies.

Anonymous said...

So, does your indignation mean that you think you're paying more than everyone else? Why such animosity towards other people using PUBLIC infrastructure?

Anonymous said...

Hasn't any of the foregoing posted by more than one person sunk in?

When someone's hobby causes an expense and inconvenience to those not engaging in the activity then those doing the paying get to wrinkle their nose.

Especially when the cyclists weave in and out of traffic, ride on the sidewalk and across crosswalks, launch off on red lights, intentionally snarl traffic on critical mass Fridays with unlicensed and uninsured vehicles and fuel, transit and carbon tax free.

Anonymous said...

You're talking of a completely different issue, from the topic of commuting. No one person has more right to access the roads than any other. Cyclists do pay taxes and have every right to share the roads. Let the law look after those who don't obey the rules of the road. That or Darwinism.

When did we become such a society of nose wrinkles and hand wringers? Live and let live. Learn to relax and and not worry so much about what other people are doing. If you don't want to ride a bike, no sweat. But don't disparage those who do and want to do it with relative safety. In case you hadn't noticed, there are some real assholes driving cars, too.

Why does every issue turn into a school yard us vs. them match?

Anonymous said...

Live, let live, relax, don't wring your hands.....oh.....and by the way don't sweat the reckless cyclists intentionally snarling traffic on a monthly basis and riding on vehicles that don't contribute to the cost of their dedicated bike lanes.

Sounds like something written by a cyclist.

Anonymous said...

Nope, not a cyclist. Just someone who doesn't get his panties in a wad over sharing the road. But you sound like an intolerant old man with nothing better to do than complain about every little thing that doesn't fit within your world view. Cars good. Everything else, bad.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

And you sound like a foolish Pollyanna.

That's what I'd be ashamed of.

Anonymous said...

Give me optimism over bitterness any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

I respect contribution over "entitlement".

Anonymous said...

Anyone who pays taxes is contributing. Some more than others. The only way payment will be truly equitable is if all roads become user pay. For every trip. Is that what you want? If so, start working towards change. If not, learn to share and play with others.

Anonymous said...

Yes, those that pay taxes contribute something, some more than others.

So there is some level equity up to that point.

Then those that use the roadways and drive gas powered vehicles pay additional fuel, carbon and transit taxes that are an additional contribution to the road and highway infrastructure.

Then there are those that use the roadways that don't pay the additional taxes.

Ignoring this contribution portion with comments like share and play nice is just willful blindness.

Yes there should be some level of user pay for all vehicles, motor or not, that use the roadways collected through licensing and insurance.

Anonymous said...

Look at which vehicles cause the most wear and tear to roads and highways. Those vehicles pay the additional taxes you mention. The wear and tear caused by a bicycle is slim to none, in comparison. So, it seems to me, the vehicles causing the most damage to our infrastructure are being taxed appropriately (and maybe even not enough), while the cyclists are likely being taxed appropriately. Remember, that many cyclists also own and operate vehicles and are contributing the taxes you mention. Do you want to start taxing school kids who ride their bikes to school every day as well?

Anonymous said...

The heavier vehicles already do pay a higher tax due to greater fuel consumption.

Everyone, not just the cyclists, contribute to whatever extent they use their fuel driven vehicles. When they use their bicycles to drive the same roads they don't contribute. Therefore they escape user pays.

Yes, I would like to see bicycles licensed and insured much like cars.

Cars have pleasure, business, commercial useage rates.
Bikes could have a sliding scale of rates with the ones for children of high school age and under being nominal, pleasure use (weekend or recreational riders), to and from work or school (college/university), business use etc.

Bikes would contribute to the infrastructure and the number plates would be handy to identify those riding on sidewalks, against the lights, against traffic, dangerous use etc.

Anonymous said...

I walk and don't own vehicles. I am thinking vehicle drivers should send me a check for populating the air I breath.

Maybe you should consider bagging your car's CO2 and sleep with them.