Monday, November 3, 2014

Election TIme!

....aaaand it's election time again in the Lower Mainland.

Since I'm a bike commuter, I use "cycling infrastructure" a lot. Translation: I ride on the roads, because there are no separated bike paths anywhere along my commute from New West to North Van. Anyways, I always look forward to HUB's election-time questionnaire, which helps sort out those candidates who have a basic understanding of cycling issues.

Here's a link to their results, with responses from candidates throughout the Lower Mainland.

As far as New West goes, here are the responses (not all candidates responding) to the two questions posed:

[question 1 and responses. Click to enlarge.]

[question 2 and responses. Click to make bigger.]
...we can see right away who really has no grasp of reality on cycling issues....

 One candidate seems to believe that cycling is an "extra" which costs so much that we will be plunged into debt if we even think of painting one more bike lane in. Cycling is not really transportation, in other words. What I do every day to get to work doesn't count and isn't worth spending any money on; it's a cost to society we cannot afford.

Adding bike infrastructure is, of course, waaaaaaay cheaper than adding more car infrastructure. Perhaps we should ask this candidate to clarify her position on road and parking improvements in the City? Also, every car we take off the road reduces wear and tear on the tarmac and increases the health of the population. But, I suppose since these benefits don't accrue in the form of tax revenue to the city, we should simply ignore them in the name of reducing our tax burden. Anyways, the reality is that cyclists subsidize car drivers, not the other way 'round.

Another candidate (who happens to reside at the same address as the one above) really doesn't understand either the purpose or economics of licensing, or of insurance. I've written about this before. Last time we had an election, in fact, when the same candiate had the same position. I guess the candidate has not bothered to educate himself since. Look, insurance isn't there to "pay for the roads". Insurance covers the costs of accidents. And cyclists - when they cause accidents - do not cost the system anywhere nearly as much as cars do (because they do far less damage to other's property). So ICBC sees no financial reason to create bike liability insurance. (All this apart from the fact that most cyclists are already insured.) Licensing fees are not there to "pay for the roads", either. They are there to cover the costs of the licensing administration itself. We invent vehicle licensing because we want to control who drives: a car is a dangerous weapon; a one-tonne steel object flying by at 40km/h. A bike is nowhere near this dangerous. Requiring licenses for bikes discourages cycling (are you gonna get your son Bobby a license???) and the costs of running such a system far exceed the fees collected.

So that's an easy 2 down then.

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