Related to bike routes, and completely separate to yesterday’s post…
Being a loud-mouth and a “crackpot environmentalist”, I often get called out on various issues in social setting where people already know my position. I guess I am a fun guy to get a rise out of. Last night at the Curling Rink one of my buddies remarked to me:
“I think your bike lane on Dunsmuir got somebody killed today”.
He then regaled me with the story of a cyclist, an ambulance, and a scene that looked like a commercial vehicle turned right across the bike lane and struck a cyclist. I have no idea if any of the info he gave me was accurate, but I have no reason to doubt him. I can only comment on the allegation he made: a cyclist on the Dunsmuir Bike Lane was killed by right-turning truck.
First off, it isn’t “my” bike lane, and before you say it, it isn’t even Gregor Robertson’s bike lane. The dedicated bike lane on Dunsmuir (and the one on Hornby) are part of Vancouver’s Transportation Plan, which was written in 1997, under NPA Mayor Phillip Owen, and fully supported by COPE Mayor Larry Campbell, NPA Mayor Sam Sullivan, and Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Four mayors, four administrations. They are a piece of a puzzle that has been assembling for 15 years.
Second, a bike lane can’t kill anyone. The story he told me was a commercial vehicle turning right where it shouldn’t have hitting a cyclist. It was the bike lane’s fault because cars used to be able to turn right there, and cyclists in the bike lane are hard to see for truck drivers turning right.
I cannot say this clear enough: in this alleged scenario, the truck driver killed the cyclist. He broke the law by turning right when the motor vehicle code said he could not. This is no different than someone going 100km/h through a school zone and plowing down a kid on a crosswalk. It doesn’t matter that the school zone was on what used to be an open road, or that the kid should have been looking for speeding cars prior to crossing the cross walk. No rational person would wave it off by saying “well, you know those kids are always crossing streets, usually not at crosswalks, the kid had it coming”.
And no-one would say to me “I think cross walk in that School Zone got some kid killed today”.
It is a manifestation of the post from yesterday: blaming the victim (or the victim’s advocates) instead of recognizing the real problem