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Burrard Bridge: Political winner or loser?

July 14th, 2009 · 140 Comments

Whenever politicians take on something controversial, they spent their political capital. That’s what’s happening in Vancouver right now with the Burrard Bridge.

But, as I found out yesterday, some unexpected people think Vision will actually gain political capital by putting on the bike-lane trial, not spend it.

My story on this in the Globe is here.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • SV

    Important issues like ellipsis abuse?
    Perhaps you should move on?

  • SV

    oh, I forgot…

  • Not Running for mayor

    Wow way to keep it classy Darcy, The guy admits he didn’t check his mirror and made an error, but you would punch his lights out for his error. It’s called an accident. You have some serious anger mangement issues. Like your other post in which you stated you’d purposely brush up against a pedestrian if they crossed into the cycle lane. I think the licensing system would be a success if it kept you and anyone that rides like you off the road. Cheers.

  • Darcy McGee

    It’s actually called almost killing me, so yes…I’d punch his lights out if his door hit me.

    The two most vivid recollections of this almost happening too me ended with me NOT hitting a door, and two very very very apologetic drivers. In one case I was moving quite quickly (it was downhill, though it was also a bike lane so he should have known…) and me taking very deep breaths and reminding myself that I was still alive.

    But yes, in the case Mr. gmgw cites the cyclist actually hit his door so yes…I’d punch his lights out if I were that cyclist. Unless he was really really old, in which case I’d settle for the insurance money and a new bike.

    As for licencing, paesano, believe me when I say I’m one of the safest cyclists you’ll find. Contrast me with the asshat who knowingly ran a red light and almost hit me yesterday, or the turd-burglar on a scooter today I saw blow through three stop signs.

    I stop, I don’t ride sidewalks, I follow the rules. I have but one speeding ticket to my name in my entire driving history…and that one when I was 17.

  • Darcy McGee

    > which is enforced by requiring you to show proof of insurance when renewing
    > your Road Fund License every year

    Not sure of the mechanics of how they got away with it…could be they showed proof, got plates, then had to cancel it…could be non-matching expiration dates.

    I’m too lazy to scam the system. I just pay.

    Besides, I personally think the ICBC system is pretty good. Government legislates a requirement, government provides the minimum requirement. (Optional is another more complex issue…)

    The alternative…legal requirement for insure with solely private providers strikes me as odd now. Imagine if government required you to have your children in school, but only private schools were available. Tuition rates would sprial skyward, and the for profit schools would staff as leanly as they could to improve profits.

  • “The guy admits he didn’t check his mirror and made an error, but you would punch his lights out for his error. It’s called an accident.”

    Actually it was negligence and could well have ended with a cyclist in the middle lane, his head squished like a grapefruit by the next car to come along. I have a friend who is still dealing with the physical consequences of being doored, months after the collision (I refuse to use the term accident to describe avoidable incidents).

  • gmgw

    Darcy, terminally amped on testosterone and tough as nails, flexed his tattooed biceps and manfully snarled in what he hoped was an intimidating tone:

    “Then I’d punch your lights out, for being such an ass of course.”

    Um… and this ties in with your perpetual stance of moral superiority… how, exactly?

    Man, ask a civil question and get a fist in the face in return… Darcy, sweetheart, I can tell you that if you were to (attempt to) punch my lights out for ANY reason, I’d press charges against you for criminal assault. I think you might have a bit of a problem making your little insurance claim for your poor little bicycle after that. Like Not Running for Mayor said, you appear to have one serious anger management problem (not to mention an arrogance and self-righteousness problem). You call yourself one of the safest riders on the road? If that’s true, no wonder I see so many nutjobs riding bikes. One of the safest? Really? After you’ve already bragged about forcing hapless pedestrians out of your way by brushing them back as you ride by? After chest-thumpingly declaring that you’ve “declared war” on the automobile? Ever read any history? No one ever wins a war. Diplomacy is a much more positive approach.

    Oh, incidentally, a bit of advice: Bragging about how you’d (attempt to) punch total strangers’ lights out because they pissed you off? Bad idea. Strangers can be just full of nasty surprises. In fact, take it from one who knows a thing or three about violence and its consequences: Throwing punches at strangers in the street because they accidentally caused you to run into a car door is a good way to get your bike fed to you, piece by piece. Word to the wise… beware of using the rhetoric of violence. There’s always going to be someone around who’s willing to call your bluff.

  • gmgw

    Chris said:
    “Actually it was negligence and could well have ended with a cyclist in the middle lane, his head squished like a grapefruit by the next car to come along. I have a friend who is still dealing with the physical consequences of being doored, months after the collision (I refuse to use the term accident to describe avoidable incidents).”

    OK, so the jury’s verdict appears to be that responsibility rests entirely on the driver in this situation. Mea culpa, mea culpa. But, not being a bike rider, curiosity impels me to ask– when you’re riding past a line of parked cars on a busy street, do you slow down? Do you watch for parked cars with drivers in them? Do you ready yourself for a sudden stop if it was to prove necessary? Do you anticipate that someone might suddenly open their door and plan an evasive maneuver, if there’s room? Do you watch half a block ahead for cars that are parking or have just parked and take note that someone is likely to emerge from that car momentarily?

    I don’t know; like I say, I’m not a bike rider. Maybe there’s a feeling of invulnerability that goes with riding. Maybe cyclists simply expect other people to look out for *them*. I have no idea. But I do know that every responsible car driver practices something called defensive driving. When I drive through downtown, I try to take in every single thing that’s going on ahead of me (and even behind me) often as far as two blocks ahead– this includes other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic lights, buses, what-have-you; analyze that information, and adjust my driving accordingly. Do bike riders practice something similar? Call it “defensive riding” if you like. Getting “doored” is indeed an avoidable incident, and a deplorable one. But it seems to me that in order to avoid such incidents, it’s necessary for both car drivers and cyclists to take responsibility.

  • Mark A

    > Darcy, terminally amped on testosterone

    I wouldn’t be quite so sure of that, just a hunch.

  • Mark A

    gmgw: Let me answer you by asking a question in return. What are your expectations of the driver of a car passing a line of parked cars on a narrow street?

  • Darcy McGee

    You didn’t get a fist in the face for asking a question.

    You got a hypothetical fist in the face for hypothetically hitting a hypothetical me with your car door because (as you admitted) you neglected to look.

    And I’m not “Bragging about how you’d (attempt to) punch total strangers’ lights out because they pissed you off” because:
    a) you didn’t piss me off, you almost killed me with your door (hypothetically)
    b) I wouldn’t “attempt to”, I’d do it

    Yes we practice defensive riding. That’s why 99% of the time you’ll see me in the middle of the left lane: it gives me a safety buffer, and makes it harder for cars coming behind me to ignore me. Lane position is of of the basic safety techniques you learn when you learn how to ride on two wheels.

    Of course when you’re on a bicycle and staking out your claim to the road, drivers who are following often start honking horns or trying to pass because they get annoyed.

    How fast I’m going has no bearing on fault: the driver is responsible for checking behind them prior to opening the door.

    That’s why divided, protected bike lanes increase safety so dramatically…much like the one on the Burrard Street Bridge. Riding in traffic doesn’t scare me, but it scares the living hell out of a lot of people.

  • Frances,

    OMG has it come to this . . . the conversation has degenerated . . .

    What a sad turn of events for I fear I have contributed to this current cyber malaise as much as anyone. Clearly this bikes-on-the-bridge discussion has gone way beyond constructive.

    I regret your generosity in providing this platform for debate is not working out. Bikes are important but in the scope of a future city they rate some where down the line.

    The city, the province is not in good shape:

    I am tempted to caste blame but in fact we walkers, talkers, riders, drivers and gossipers are the real culprits.

    The population seems incapable of selecting competent leadership.

    In my brief encounters with the current premier way back when he was MOV I was not impressed then and I am not impressed now. But he was elected fair and square . . .

    Ever since Team, of which the current premier was an acolyte, the city has been catering to mortgage paying clients while ignoring wealth-creating endeavours . . .

    The previous mayor Sam Sullivan, was in my opinion, far too in thrall to what may be described as the, now dormant, development industry, which it is, and the real estate industry: “industry” it is not! Yet he too was elected fare and square . . .

    Some months ago Mr. Sullivan released a cameo of himself soliloquizing before, what appears to be, his web cam: of course it is no longer available, wisely for him. For, indeed, it showed a man who deserves our respect and sympathy for his courage. But what is also clearly showed . . . Mr. Sam Sullivan should never have been mayor of this city.

    The current mayor and council clearly have the best of intentions yet I fear for their decisions. VV is showing a well intended yet ominous naiveté that bodes ill for the future . . . but the alternative is yet under whelming . . .

    VV has made a massive mistake in taking on the OV debt. In my opinion council should have gone eye-ball-to-eye-ball with VANOC. VANOC would have had no alternative but to step up to the plate and at least the debilitating Olympic debt would have been distributed more thinly.

    Sorry for my part in this debacle. Sin embargo, I await pensively for passionate and constructive discussion directed to those who are responsible, for many reasons, to return.

    Unfortunately we are mired in an acrimonious and trivial squabble about bicycle lanes on your wonderful blog and squabbling amongst ourselves does not equip us to face a quixotic future.

  • GMGW:

    You better believe most riders practice defensive riding. They’d be sipping and puffing their way through life if they didn’t.

  • SV

    Chris has that right.
    GMGW you bascially described how one should approach a row of parked cars. However when possible I like to be far enough out in the lane that a car door won’t hit me, though this is not always possible.

    Generally I’ve found that if I ride defensively and try not to take near misses personally I get to my destination in one piece and in a better mood than if I get all adrenalized.(This is easier said than done sometimes-when my daughter was hit in her trailer a few years back I had to show some serious self-control once I knew she was okay).

    One last thing gmgw-you made reference above to Darcy’s “poor little bicycle”. I’m not sure if your intent was to trivialize “the bike” but I just thought I’d point out that my bike is the way I move myself and my family around. It’s not a toy, it’s my vehicle and when it’s out of commission my life changes quite a bit.( I’ll tell you all about ICBC and the replacement of my trailer some other time).

  • Westender

    I drove (crept) across the bridge northbound at 5pm on Wednesday…I had a disabled passenger in my car, so I’m not sure she was eligible to cycle or walk across the “improved” bridge. During the 7 or 8 minutes we sat in traffic on the bridge, 4 cycles passed us northbound. As this was my first time over the “new” bridge, I was somewhat surprised by the arrangement at the ramp to Pacific eastbound. I came to a stop to avoid blocking the demarcated bike route (I couldn’t proceed eastbound due to traffic back-ups on Pacific at Hornby), all under the watchful eye of a police officer stationed at the north end of the bridge. While I was stopped, a cyclist advancing northbound in his new bike lane blew through the stop sign at the ramp and crossed in front of me. The police officer shouted out “You’re supposed to stop there!” Not surprisingly, the cyclist ignored him. As I moved eastbound on Pacific, two more cyclists rounded the corner from the bridge and rode along the Pacific sidewalk – adjacent to their newly-dedicated bike lane!
    This is precisely the behaviour that is causing drivers frustrtation – this sanctimonious “have our cake and eat it too attitude” is not helping to build support for the cycling cause.
    To conclude my trip I drove eastbound to Howe Street, turned right (which I can no longer do at Hornby) and drove along a newly-congested block of Beach Avenue past townhouse doors that are subjected to a new level of diverted vehicles. Further west on Beach I witnessed a white BMW driving at least 70kmh in the 30 kmh zone on Beach…but alas the perceived safety problems on the Burrard Bridge are consuming all available police resources, so there is no chance of a ticket being issued to the driver endangering the lives of park users.
    I am a.) not convinced this is the right solution for the bridge and b.) confident that nothing is going to change under our current administration.

  • Peter G

    Campbell, Sullivan or Robertson. It doesn’t seem to matter who sits in the mayor’s chair, we still have the same inept bureaucrats running things. Unless VV can do a housecleaning on these people, they are destined to last as long as Sullivan did. I walk daily from Homer and Nelson to the Pacific Centre. Today I counted 6 city blocks where the sidewalk is blocked. Apparently the engineering department has handed reponsibility for traffic management over to the construction industry. Perhaps the city should consider hiring just one professional traffic engineer to help them manage things. This is the same department, the same “brains trust” that have been looking for a solution to the dumpster problem for 4 years and so far have managed exactly zilch….

  • Denis

    I wonder when somebody gets around to mention that in Europe very large numbers of bikes are at the train stations as folks are commuting to their work somewhere else? Or that many bike paths actually have their own stop and go lights? But to have people threatning to beat up on others with an opinion different that them, sure does lower the level of debate. It rapidy becomes a shouting match.
    Just think Francis, if you write a couple more articles like this one about the Burrard Street bridge you can slip out of town for weeks at a time and the two sides of the argument fill up your blog space . When I was driving a commercial vehicle in town during the Expo 86 event, the stories kept talking about how the city would be in grid lock , the sky was falling etc. Some of our trucks shifted over a street or two, maybe a different bridge but it didn’t seem to impact much on our work. So lest not all panic over a bloody lane of traffic. Wait until the big circus comes to town and VANOC gets to close one heck of a lot of streets. A bike might be the best way to get around.

  • Peter,

    “It doesn’t seem to matter who sits in the mayor’s chair, we still have the same inept bureaucrats running things. ”

    I agree with you whole heartedly and the first to go should be the dozens upon dozens of time servers who are deemed “permanent.”

    Dr. Penny do you read?

  • Darcy McGee

    > Darcy’s “poor little bicycle”

    One of my “poor little bicycles” has a replacement cost in the range of $3,500. (Racing frame, not a commuter.)

    The one that I ride to work 99.9% of the days I work, do most of my grocery (and other) shopping on and that I jokingly refer to as my “pickup truck” has a replacement cost about $2,000 (including accessories to make it function as a daily commute.)

    The other is a vintage carbon frame that, instead of going in a landfill, was converted to a fixed gear machine. It’s hard to estimate the cost on it, because it’s pretty old.

    So don’t get started on “poor little bicycles.”

    A shame about Westender’s experience with the cyclist who chose not to stop. The cop could have charged the cyclist…

  • Darcy McGee

    Denis’ comments about bikes at train stations and paths with their own lights are spot on.

    The Central Valley Greenway is a GREAT trail, but it would benefit from “pedestrian/cyclist activated” crossings at some major intersections — most notably Boundary Road (I haven’t ridden it much east of there.)

    Having said that, most Vancouver drivers are polite and on a number of occasions when I’ve crossed boundary I’ve been surprised to see streaming traffic stop to allow me to cross in the crosswalk. As with most of these situations it takes one driver to make it happen: if just one driver in one lane starts to stop, others will often follow.

    Skytrain for years didn’t allow bicycles at all. I couldn’t believe this when I moved here. I can understand rush hour to some extent but to not allow them at all….ridiculous. Thank god that’s changed.

    Bikes like the Strida folding bicycle are designed to _integrate_ with transit: designed in London, the concept was to allow you to pedal from home to a Tube station, fold it up and get on the Tube, then pedal from the Tube to the office. A teflon drive belt replacing the chain was just one design feature to accommodate this.

    West Coast Express stations offer bike lockers, but the supply is limited. Skytrain offers some as well.

    Integrating cycling with transit is a great way to encourage it.

  • Darcy McGee

    > people threatning to beat up on others
    > with an opinion different that them, sure
    > does lower the level of debate.

    For the record, I didn’t “threaten” to beat anybody up, and it wasn’t over an opinion.

    I said that if somebody hit me with their car door I’d punch them out. That’s not an opinion that’s almost killing me…hypothetically of course.

    As I’ve pointed out in the numerous close and contact-free calls I’ve had, I’ve never confronted the (generally apologetic) driver.

  • gmgw

    SV said:
    ” gmgw-you made reference above to Darcy’s “poor little bicycle”. I’m not sure if your intent was to trivialize “the bike” but I just thought I’d point out that my bike is the way I move myself and my family around. It’s not a toy, it’s my vehicle and when it’s out of commission my life changes quite a bit.”

    SV, my comment was made in response to Darcy’s stated intention to “punch my lights out”. Over and above the general bellicose stupidity of his statement, I’ve been on the receiving end of physical violence a few times, both threatened and actual, and I do not appreciate being threatened , even,, as Darcy put it, “hypothetically”. The “poor little bicycle” comment was a none-too-polite attempt to make the point that I place considerably more value on my hypothetical jaw and/or nose and/or skull than I do Darcy’s hypothetical bicycle. I think most courts of law, hypothetical or otherwise, would agree.
    And that’s probably enough hypothesizing for now.

  • jaymac

    I must thank AGT for clearing up something. I have finally deduced why the fascists were not successful in WW2. They were riding around on bikes whereas the “good guys” had tanks and nukes.

  • SV

    gmgw- got it. And while I have you here I’d also like to say I appreciate your points of view and all you bring to the debate. While I consider myself a safe and considerate cyclist(and occasionally a driver too)I don’t think it ever hurts to be questioned.

  • gmgw

    Thanks, SV. Much appreciated, especially after the past couple of days.

  • Darcy McGee

    This will undoubtedly interest some:

    and I say good on the Police (though there is always the question of using limited resources more wisely.)

    I was thinking yesterday as I watched a Lamboghini sail across the bridge quite a bit over the limit (I think…) that they should stick photo radar cameras in the gargoyles up there.

  • gmgw

    Darcy said:
    “I was thinking yesterday as I watched a Lamboghini sail across the bridge quite a bit over the limit (I think…) that they should stick photo radar cameras in the gargoyles up there.”

    There are an extraordinary number of exotic, high-end and performance-car dealerships clustered on or within a block of the east side of Burrard between 1st Ave and Broadway, mostly between 1st and 4th (another one is going in at 3rd & Burrard). They sell Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys, Lotuses… you name it. I’m convinced that the salespeople in these dealerships quietly suggest to customers taking one of these six-figure boytoys out for a spin that they try one of the bridges if they want to check the acceleration; they’re the closest thing to an open stretch of highway in the immediate area (while I’m speaking here of what I’ve observed on the Granville Bridge, it comes as no surprise to hear that this happens on the Burrard as well).

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen one of these supercars barrelling north across the Granville Bridge at speeds approaching, I would guess, 80-90 MPH or even more (most cars in this bracket can easily accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under 5 seconds). One often sees high-end motorcycles doing the same thing. Generally they accelerate all the way to the “hump” in the middle of the bridge and then hit the brakes– you can see their brakelights come on at about the same spot every time. God help anyone who was pulled over with a flat tire or dead engine– or was riding a bicycle– just past the bridge’s crest.

    It’s a frightening and disturbing sight, and I wish to hell the cops– and the City, who presumably license these dealers– would do something about it (not that they could catch one of these guys, on the bridge at least, if they decided to run). Every time I see a radar trap on the bridge it’s always at the *south* end. They’re certainly needed there too, but the real problem is northbound.

  • Darcy McGee

    > There are an extraordinary number of exotic, high-end and performance-car
    > dealerships clustered on or within a block of the east side of Burrard

    Not the point. Tons of people speed over bridges, it’s actually quite common. It doesn’t take a Lamborghini to go faster than 60km/h: I can do it on a bicycle if I try hard enough.

    At least a Lamborghini can’t hit me with those vertically opening doors.

  • gmgw

    Um, that was 60 MPH, not KPH– I tend to revert to non-metric fairly often, but IIRC 60 MPH=100 KPH. I’ve seen some of these “test pilots” approach what must be 80 or 90 MPH (miles per hour) or more– barely out of second gear for them. As you point out, “tons of people speed over bridges”. However, few do so as intimidatingly as a Ferrari (et. al.) driver in full flight.

    On the other hand, Darcy, perhaps I’ve misunderstood, and you are actually capable of pedaling (up an incline,no less) at 60 MPH. In which case I must assume you can also leap tall buildings with a single bound and bend steel with your bare hands. It’s just as well, then, that our hypothetical street brawl remained hypothetical.

  • Darcy McGee

    Speed limit on the Burrard Bridge is 60km/h. If you’re going faster than that, you’re exceeding the speed limit. It doesn’t take a Lamborghini to exceed the speed limit.

    Now that I think about it it might actually be 50km/h. I haven’t driven over that bridge in quite some time…probably months.

    Never said I could do 60km/h up the Burrard Bridge, though I could quite easily do it down. I can hit it for about a minute or two on a flat before before my lungs relocate themselves externally from my body, which is not as helpful as it might sound.

  • “It’s just as well, then, that our hypothetical street brawl remained hypothetical.”

    I LOL’ed

  • gmgw

    Sigh. I’ll attempt to make the point one more time… On the Granville Bridge, most drivers routinely exceed the posted limit, yes.. That’s why there are frequent radar traps to be seen at the south end. However, when exceeding the posted limit by 20 KMH or so becomes the norm, most drivers to tend to adjust to said norm.

    The wild cards, however, are the exoticars routinely being tried out on the bridge, by drivers inexperienced in the handling of such powerful vehicles, and who not only exceed the posted limit but regularly double and even triple it or more. This phenomenon, I submit, constitutes an extraordinary hazard (greatly surpassing the regrettably common hazard of drivers who exceed the posted limit by a lesser amount) to any other individuals who may be traversing the bridge on four or two wheels at the time of said transgression, especially for unsuspecting motorists or velocipedists who may have just passed the highpoint of the bridge in a northerly direction and hence be invisible to the temporarily deranged driver of the supercar(s) gaining on them at a very high rate of speed, thereby dramatically increasing the likelihood of a serious or even fatal collision.


  • Paul

    Here is my two cents: enforce the helmet and lights on bikes laws and you don’t need to license bikes. Although many helmet-wearers break the road rules, it would be a start. (Also as a bike rider and a driver, I think the worst offenses are when bikes go through red lights – stop signs on side street are only a problem when the four-way rule is not observed). If not being banned completely, car drivers who talk on cell phones should have to go to training on how to turn a corner with one hand on the wheel! ; )

  • Paul, the problem is the helmet law, that is mainly what the police do enforce probably because it is just so easy. Helmet tickets 4% of all tickets in Vancouver and cycling accounts for about 4% of trips.

    While I encourage people to wear helmets, it should be a matter of personal choice like it is in the majority of countries in the world.

    Scarce enforcement resources should be first focused on protecting other people from the actions of reckless cyclists and preventing collisions, not making collisions safer.

    So focus the limited enforcement resources on ticket cyclists who are riding fast on sidewalks and blasting through red lights.

    I’m with you on banning cell phones while driving. The province is considering this now.

  • Darcy McGee

    Perhaps we should only ban cell phone calls made by temporarily deranged drivers of super cars (and only while crossing bridges?)

    Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets: I think bicyclists should be as well. (While we’re at it, let’s modify motorcycle helmet laws to require full face, not just a skull cap.)

    I can tell you from personal experience that it only takes one incident on a bicycle to make sure you won’t ever leave the house again without wearing a helmet. I literally can’t saddle up without on on my head…but I’m feeling much better now.

  • gmgw

    The last time I used a cell phone while driving (*not* something I’m normally stupid/disorganized enough to do; this time I was late for an appointment) was, coincidentally, while using the Granville Bridge. I’m generally a cautious and aware driver. This time, while getting out my phone, punching the number, and talking for maybe sixty seconds, I made two right turns, turned onto the bridge, merged with traffic, accelerated, and moved over two lanes. At the end of the call I suddenly realized that I had no clear memory of having done any of the above in the previous minute. About all I can offer in my defense is that I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit. That doesn’t for one moment excuse the risk(s) I took.

    Ever notice, these days, how many drivers running stop signs and yellow or even red lights are talking on cellphones? My wife came within a hairsbreadth of being T-boned by one at a 4-way stop in Richmond the other day. The sooner cellphone use while driving is banned, the better.

  • Darcy McGee

    ““I haven’t owned a car in 16 years””

    > The last time I used a cell phone while
    > driving

    > My wife came within a hairsbreadth of > being T-boned by one at a 4-way stop in
    > Richmond the other day

    Somewhere in those statements you’ve either contradicted yourself (unless you had a cell phone before 1993) or you’re splitting hairs over “I haven’t owned a car…” and perhaps your wife owns it?

    In any case, the point was never car ownership the point was reliance on car use…

    Yes, cell phone calls should be banned in cars (and I think that ban should include the use of headsets, frankly.)

  • Chauncey Gardner

    John Les, forced to resign as Solicitor General of BC due to investigations of shady land deals, said “more research was needed” when it came to banning cell phones in cars.

    Next up for Solicitor General was notoriously reckless driver John Van Dongen, who was forced to resign due to excessive speeding tickets.

    These are BC Liberals in charge of public safety, stinking up the province with their sense of entitlement and privilege.
    You expect them to hold the public accountable when they aren’t?

    BC Liberals are full of rot from the top down.
    So hold off on drinking that Kool Aid Gregor.

  • gmgw

    Here’s more biographical material than you’re going to want. As I’ve stated before, yes, my wife does own a car. Lest you be tempted to titillate yourself with visions of me gleefully targeting hapless bicyclists while at the wheel of my wife’s armor-plated Hummer, let me add that it’s a Toyota Echo that takes about half a minute to get to 60MPH; slightly less in a strong tailwind. She works in a corner of the Lower Mainland, that’s poorly served by transit–especially at night and on weekends, and she works late a couple of times a week as well as regular Saturdays– and she finds it much less stressful and time-consuming to drive to and from work. (Things have improved; for several years she worked in Abbotsford, which required an exhausting daily 100-mile round trip. She finally had to get an apartment out there and we only saw each other on weekends). For some years she worked in a location well-served by transit and we had no car at all, which sometimes made visiting her parents in south Surrey a challenge, especially in winter.

    I owned a small truck (we greatly prefer small vehicles) for 15 years. I used to really enjoy backroading in the Lillooet and south Cariboo areas. In the late 80s/early 90s I had a job that required regular road trips of up to 3 weeks all over BC and Alberta, and I was provided with a company car for this purpose. I put the truck in storage. When I left that job and lost the use of the company vehicle I also got rid of my truck, which had become old and cranky, and I haven’t owned a vehicle since; mostly, to be honest, because I can’t justify the expense, but also because it would be redundant for us to have two vehicles.

    We use the Echo together once or twice a week. I borrow it to run errands when I need a car to do so. We use it to take occasional weekenders out of town. We both recognize that the age of the individual automobile is coming to an end, and in any case, when we retire in a few years it is likely we will not be able to afford to maintain one. But for now it is a freely-chosen luxury in a shared life which has largely been devoid of luxury.

    There you have it. Like I said, more personal info than you could ever want, but you did ask for clarification (sort of), and since god knows you and I have our differences, I thought it might be useful to provide some disclosure. Or maybe not. But here it is anyway.

    PS: Agree with you on the headsets. When I’m driving with a passenger I don’t even look at them when we’re talking. It’s surprising how many drivers do. Any distraction can be deadly, headsets among them.

  • Well, Burrard Bridge is definitely a winner for blogs. It seems to be a great way to get clicks and comments.