08.12.2011 07:55 AM

Political line of the season

From a  quick-witted Ontario Liberal staffer, about this:

TORONTO – Andrea Horwath wants a little elbow room for cyclists.

“We think that that’s a simple measure that if there’s a cyclist on the road, it’s incumbent on the motorized vehicle to stay away by a metre from that cyclist,” the New Democratic Party Leader said Thursday.

“So if that means that you have slow down and wait until you can safely be a metre away from the cyclist, then that’s what you need to do,” she said. “We have to get serious about making sure that people can safely ride bicycles in this province.”

Horwath said if elected on Oct. 6, her party would change the Highway Traffic Act so that motorists would be fined for crowding out two-wheeled traffic.

But how police would enforce such a rule on packed and narrow roads wasn’t entirely clear.

Personally, I’m not quite sure how this one is going to go down in Timmins or Bancroft.

But one Lib staffer had the best line of the Summer:

“The Ontario NDP want motorists to move far to the left – and voters, too.  But they won’t!”



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    Raymond says:

    Aside from the quip, the idea is dumb. Fatally dumb.

    Stick to bike paths and designated cyclist lanes….hell, even Red Deer has ’em.

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      Raymond says:

      True story. Pilot project that began this year.

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        Attack! says:

        Ha! Out of step on the value of libraries even in his adopted hometown, and now out of step on the value of bike lanes in the town where he works.

        “These bike lanes are the first round of a larger program that will launch next year,” said Michael Williston, Transportation Engineer. “We want to hear what bicyclists and motorists think about bike lanes in the city and how we can move towards a more bike friendly city.”


        … well, from all his new rants on the topic here, sounds like the first step should be to encourage “insurance brokesr” (sic) and Ford Fanboy Gord here to relocate to Toronto, where he’ll, uh, feel more at home, these days.


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        Raymond says:

        Possibly, but if it separates cyclists from motor vehicles, that in itself is a plus. Agreed…at present it is a very small program that is utilized on streets with ample easement, but if expanded & combined with the existing path system, so as not to interfere with heavy regular traffic, I don’t have a major issue with it. As you said, it’s only paint.

        Idiots texting & talking on the phone while driving likely pose the largest single hazard to cyclists (as do idiot cyclists attempting to travel with motorized traffic on narrow/busy roadways). This relatively inexpensive initiative might help both parties share the road in a less-dangerous manner.

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    ottawacon says:

    Their bike plan is far more feasible than their energy platform – we are still paying for the old Ontario Hydro, we don’t need a new one. The NDP renewable energy target would require Ontario to overtake 20 years of development in Germany in less than 6. As for coal plants ‘on standby’, that suggests a basic lack of comprehension of baseload generation dynamics – you do not use coal plants for peak loads, it is simply not technically viable.

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    Robert Viera says:

    Roads have been around for thousands of years, with various modes of transportation sharing them. Automobiles are a relatively recent invention, and the idea that they ought to be the only mode of transportation on the road, which seems to be a belief by many people who drive automobiles, is newer still. Cyclists ought to have the same right of mobility as people who drive automobiles. Automobiles have made our society fat, lazy, arrogant, and selfish. It’s time to start calling-out politicians who only serve the segment of society that gets around ‘on their ass, burning gas’.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      I’m as pro-bike and anti-car as anyone, but you have to be practical. This idea simple isn’t *workable*. It’ll be a nightmare for cops to enforce and in the end I predict more cyclist injuries.

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    stanzela says:

    So silly that this will be an issue of debate for the next few days and will surely serve as little more than a springboard for those who wish to further polarize cyclists from drivers (I’m amazed at how often this dichotomy is viewed as synonymous with left vs. right – who buys that!?).

    In reality, this is actually not a big deal, and would require little to no actual change on the roads. It’s merely the objectification of a regulation that is already in place, and would serve as a protection for cyclists IN the event of an accident! I don’t reckon many motorists would abide by this regulation were it in place anyways, and with no simple means to prove drivers guilty, the disincentive won’t really be there.

    The Highway Traffic Act currently states:

    (4) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person travelling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (4).

    What difference does a definitive number make? If this provision is already in the HTA, wouldn’t a better defined set of parameters make for a more efficient application of the rules?

    Take the higher ground here, people, and don’t get caught up in the antagonizing cyclist/driver hyperbole.

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      Warren says:

      Yeah, defending the Highway Traffic Act. There’s a real vote-getter.

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        stanzela says:

        Right, and while Justin Bieber sings to sold-out audiences of hundreds of thousands, Sloan are still working the small-town circuit…

        I wasn’t making the argument that defending the HTA was good political strategy, Warren, just good policy. The HTA affects the majority of Ontarians, and is an obvious element in the debate – by inciting it, I simply meant to reveal that the NDP-imposed changes aren’t actually a great departure from what is already written into the legislature.
        In fact, I’d say the point of the post was to point out how unfortunate it is that this issue has been (perhaps irrevocably) hijacked by petty political and ideological drivel, when there is actually room for a rational discussion about what works. Such rational discussions aren’t at all helped by snide remarks about whether or not the issue is ‘sexy enough’ – I, for one, have better things to worry about, like if tonight will be the night I get rolled-over and rendered permanently immobile by buddy in his beamer.

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          Warren says:

          Uh-huh. And who’s snide, then?

          It’s a stupid policy. She will regret it.

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            stanzela says:

            For what it’s worth, it was the comment that was deemed snide, certainly not the commenter – I know the name of the game, man.

            Horwath is most certainly *already* regretting the comments – look at the spectacle that has already become of it. KM has used the issue to vilify cyclists (and vegetarians, and book readers) in today’s National Post, and it’s already a veritable circus on the comment-boards of wk.com :p

            Calling it a ‘stupid policy’ that she will ‘regret’ sounds more like the packing of gunpowder at the war-room than it does a substantial critique. Yes, I’m sure she will regret it – I’m sure it will be seen to that she does.

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    stanzela says:


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    allegra fortissima says:

    Not switching sides, Warren, are you?


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      Attack! says:

      not really: just cleaving down the middle — the centrist, Liberal way!

      Where the selfish Ford Nation wants to defy the law and grant cyclists no quarter, and would just as soon as drive them off the roads, and Horwath is bending backwards the other way, to propose changing the law give them more rights than motorists with the new guarantee of a wide berth of a meter, at all times, the ON Libs would protect the existing law, which safeguards their right to use the road and for motorists to only pass them if it is safe.

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        allegra fortissima says:

        This “wide berth of a meter” is standard law in many European countries – for decades! Luckily road courtesy rules here where I live in Canada; 99% of drivers keep a distance of at least 80 cm when passing a cyclist. I am having a beautiful and safe bicycle bicycle bicycle summer!

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          allegra fortissima says:

          Beside that: nothing is more boring than wischi-waschi “middleman” (Pierre Trudeau definitely didn’t belong to that kind of species).

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    stanzela says:

    sounds like a real ‘vote-getter’…

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    stanzela says:

    Yes, it’s a good thing horses were invented back in the day.
    Bicycles become an unsafe mode of transportation in an atmosphere where they are despised and ridiculed on principle. But of course, that only feeds into the old adage: bikes don’t kill people, people kill people. How about cheering up a little? Have you ever tried riding a bike? It’s actually pretty fun (efficient, quick, safe, sustainable, inexpensive, easy to park, easy to maneuver) and you’ll find that not everyone begins to vibrate, red with rage at the site of one.

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    allegra fortissima says:

    Gord, oh Gord, did you empty a bottle or two Captain Morgan last night?

    Although I have to admit, those shorts I’ll be wearing today on my bike definitely have “dubious safety value” 🙂

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    lukev says:

    Don’t forget pedestrians. They cross busy streets with nary even a helmet.

    If walking was invented today, it would be illegal!

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    CQ says:

    I would scrap Ontario’s mandatory helmet law for under 18s, AND outlaw multi-gear / handbrakes from bicycles associated with bikes at a child’s (under 12) size. We need to get lard ass kids into day to day physical activity. Overly-Nanny state children can only grow up into becoming dweeby weenie types.
    We just need to more commonly add 2/3 of a metre of roadside pavement (with the traffic – both ways); no fancy cement raised borders and interrupted adjoining trail paths or special separated 2-way lanes.
    Do you really need special painted lines and symbols to ride at the side or to look for see and pass a cyclist?

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